Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Today we’re in Orom Sub-County & I’m EXHAUSTED. Oram is 75 km from KTC, which is a really far distance on these dirt “roads”. (Sometimes maize grows or streams flow right across the road, or the road simply disappears into the wild tall grasses of the bush.)

I’ve been working about 15 hour days this week. I’ve spent 11 or 12 hours in the field & then 4 hours transcribing our notes. I’m so tired –

Orom borders the Karamajo region. There’s a big conflict on the border. Ask any Acholi & they’ll tell you that the Karamajo are backwards cattle-rustlers. I haven’t been able to ask a Karamajong, so I can’t tell you the other side of the coin. Apparently, according to some Acholi, the Karamajong believe that God endowed all the cattle of Northern Uganda to them. Instead of rustling, then, they are just taking back what is rightfully theirs. Repo men.

We couldn’t go to the first parish at which we’d planned a focus group because the road was – literally – just gone. There was no way to pass. We all got out to test the strength of the mud beneath the stream and to see if we could lay any branches across the area – we couldn’t – (all of us except Miss Priss, of course).

We chose Orom to come to because it’s a little different from the rest of Kitgum District. For one thing, bordering as it does Karamajo, it’s legal for adults and children to carry guns. On the way here, we passed a wide field that looked like all other fields to me, but Mark pointed at it and said it is a mass grave. We passed a village and Mark talked about the day he’d delivered food there with the WFP and that night the village had been raided and the LRA had taken all the food. The survivors were rushed to the IDP camp where they needed more food, not to mention tents, water, clothes….

Jimmy talked about the stream that borders Orom and Karamajong Land, and how in some places it’s less than an arm’s length deep, but still the Karamajong can’t pass, because if they attempt it, they get stuck. He said that there are certain mango trees near the border, where if you cut into a mango, it bleeds human blood.


I got myself a package of biscuits meant to make you gain weight, so they’re loaded with glucose. I ate them all. I feel much better. Patricia got herself a chicken. It’s alive. It’ll be traveling in the car with us.


It is spectacular here – really gorgeous –


“Men are evil,” Lisa whispered to me after one of our focus group discussions. “How can a grown man cut a young girl like that?”

It took me a few minutes to realize that by “cut” she meant, “rape and impregnate”. “Cut” works pretty well as a verb in that sense, actually.

Sometimes Lisa’s alright.

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