Well it has been an amazing first week in the Pearl of Africa! We spent 6 days in Kampala meeting up with friends and contacts from political and humanitarian roots, while also awaiting the arrival of our container full of bikes from Australia.
A few days in we went to the DAMCO office in Kampala to find out what was happening with our bikes and found out there had been a problem at customs with our mattresses and mobile ambulances.
We got the the required papers arranged to clear the container in Mombasa, and were told that we had to wait for a truck to become available, and 4 days on from that call, we are still waiting for a truck to become available!!
We spent a few days meeting with organisation’s that work with orphans and slum communities in the Kampala region, including Hope Restoration Ministry in Jinja and AFFCAD in Bwaise. We will be delivering bikes to both groups when the container arrives, hopefully by next week!
We were chewing into our time north while waiting for the bikes so decided to travel to Gulu, the biggest town in Northern Uganda. We first had a meting with the President of the Uganda people’s Congress (UPC) Doctor Olara Otunnu. By the time the interview ended it was almost 4pm, and traveling to the north is not advised at night time. However we had people waiting for us so we decided to go anyway!
We made it to Gulu safe and sound, thanks to our top driver Charles… We had some close encounters with trucks and saw the Presidential Convoy thrash by. We also ran over a dog which was terrible. It shocked the whole crew, and we arrived close to 11pm in Gulu in quite a sombre state.
I woke up today with the phone going crazy, emails and facebook all maxed out with stories about Joseph Kony and the LRA (Lords’ Resistance Army). Invisible Children have supposedly launched one of the biggest social media / viral marketing campaigns of all time. Interesting that we are here half an hour from Joseph Kony’s home town and at the centre of where all the worst atrocities took place, yet we have heard no one at all talking about it…!?
Today is International Women’s Day and we are going to celebrate with the Gulu community. After that we will continue our work on the ground, helping communities affected by the war and interviewing people about issues relating the the other side of the coin… Every story has two sides after all!