Lwero District (Uganda)
Nakasongola District (Uganda)
Lango Sub-Region (Uganda)
Alerek Sub-County (Uganda)
Kalapata-Kamion Road (Uganda)
Kamacharikol Parish (Uganda)
Kawalakol Parish (Uganda)
Narengepak Parish (Uganda)
Kathile Parish (Uganda)
This was the starting point of the expedition and the last place we would shower for many weeks.
North of Luwero, there was very little government presence other than soldiers and virtual lawlessness. The region was also the site of brutal battles between Museveni’s and Obote’s respective forces.
Due to its distance form Luwero, the infrastructure of Nakasongola suffered from neglect. Some schools survived, but the students had to knot cloth to create a make shift soccer ball.
Obote was from Lango and his supporters were predominantly Acholi and Lango. Many in Uganda believe the appalling conditions in the North are collective retribution for historic genocide.
The UPDF insisted that we spend the night in a refugee camp because LRA were known to be in the area. Pluth was certain we would be a bigger target if we stayed and argued for almost an hour before the soldiers let us leave.
After a harrowing day, there was a rare moment of tranquility. We watched the sun rise and spent the morning making friends with the Karamajong.
Kaabong was the last trading post on our journey and we were a major curiosity. We swarmed by the locals to the point where it was almost impossible to move.
The structure in Komuria gave us a chance to sleep under a roof. Because the place housed contagious people, Pluth opted for the outside. Soldiers guarded us there in spite of our concerns they would attract LRA. They were well meaning and we never experienced any instances of corruption.
Kalapata was sparsely populated by Karamajong, but was frequently raided by the Turkana. The beauty of the landscape belies the bloodshed caused by cattle raids. With every encounter, we would ask for reports on any sightings of the Turkana.
The rainy season is typically from March through May and October through November. It was unusual for there to be rain when we were there. Unusual isn’t always a good thing.
The termite mounds could be as tall as 30 feet. Apparently, termites have a nutty flavor and are a good source of fat and protein.
Goats were bred as a substitute for cattle mostly for their milk and meat, but also for their hide and manure for farming. They are hardy, consume less than cattle, and are easier to care for.
The Dodoth are a pastoral tribe. Youth are required to live as warriors, away from their families, in camps. Cattle are the main currency and a warrior seeking to marry must give a certain number of animals to the bride’s parents.
Puta is part of the mountain region in north eastern Uganda. Even this sector is not immune for LRA raids.
Kawalakol overlooks the Kidepo valley which was cordoned off to hunters by the British shortly before their colonial rule ended as a gesture to help repopulate decimated species.
Narengepak has been noted for its gangs of armed warriors who murder and ransack villages. Some believe that the army’s efforts to disarm locals has made problems worse.
Sparcely populated Kathile is part of the Karamoja cluster which witnesses sporadic raids from Sudanese, Kenyan, and Ethiopian tribes. The Turkana, who are menaced in Kenya by the Pokot, Nyangatom and Toposa, are among the most aggressive and brutal in Uganda.
Napeitom means “one elephant,” though we never found out why. The villagers of were extremely friendly and warm although they are occasionally victimized by the Turkana.
Although Lodoi is located in one of the regions more populous areas, it was still forced to relocate due to insecurity. Because of its centrality, the village is the focus of several NGOs.
Clashes with the UPDF government forces were not limited to just the LRA and bandits. Tensions existed among many armed warriors. Only a few months after we departed, Jie tribesmen killed 16 soldiers.
Morungole village was the highest inhabited point on the mountain. We made our campsite on the actual peak, which was not the smartest move. There was no possibility for shade while the sun was out and we were a target for lightening during storms.
Nawedo was a much larger Ik village than Moungole. The journey only took a few hours, but the terrain was challenging and if the path was wet, could present a serious danger due to the steep escarpment.