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Wednesday,November 21,2018 05:16 AM

More than the eclipse at Pakwach

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th October 2013 10:59 AM

For almost every turn in Pakwach town, there is an ongoing refurbishment of sorts as the district eagerly waits to host an estimated 30,000 tourists in the area to witness the hybrid solar eclipse on November 3 at 4:15pm.

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For almost every turn in Pakwach town, there is an ongoing refurbishment of sorts as the district eagerly waits to host an estimated 30,000 tourists in the area to witness the hybrid solar eclipse on November 3 at 4:15pm.

By Solomon Oleny

For almost every turn in Pakwach town, there is an ongoing refurbishment of sorts as the district eagerly waits to host an estimated 30,000 tourists in the area to witness the hybrid solar eclipse on November 3 at 4:15pm.

A hybrid eclipse is a rare form of solar eclipse, which changes from an annular to a total eclipse along its path. It occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow on the surface of the earth.

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The writer with a group of Pakwach youth who are practicing cultural dances to perform on November 4

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US aeronautics and aerospace research agency, only seven of its kind have occurred since the birth of Jesus Christ, the last one being on March 16, 1466. The next is forecast for June 3, 2114.true

Uganda has been identified as the best location in the world to view the eclipse. Pakwach, Arua, Soroti, Masindi and Gulu have been identified as the vantage points for viewing the eclipse. 

Of these five points, Owiny Primary School in Pakwach has been identified as the best epicentre to view the eclipse. The solar eclipse is a rare event, hence the importance.

HEALTH PRECAUTIONS

However, stand warned that viewing the sun with the naked eye or with any optical device such as binoculars or telescope can cause permanent eye damage or blindness.

According to Dr. Issa Makumbi, an official with the health ministry, the permanent eye damage results from looking at the disk of the sun directly or through a camera view finder, or telescope even when only a thin crescent of the sun remains.

“The 1% of the sun’s surface still visible is about 10,000 times brighter than the full moon. Staring at the sun under such circumstances is like using a magnifying glass to focus sunlight onto dry grass,” he says. Dr. Makumbi warns that the retina is delicate and  irreplaceable.

“You can view the eclipse with certified eclipse viewing glasses, pinhole camera, welder’s goggles, undeveloped black and white film (not coloured) or water in a basin,” he advises.

OTHER ADVENTUROUS ACTIVITIES

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An administrative building at Fort Emin Pasha

After viewing the eclipse, you can spend the day exploring Pakwach’s amazing tourism sites. The road to Pakwach passes through Murchison Falls National Park, so there will be a lot to see — elephants, bushbacks and buffaloes, among others.

Once there, you can also venture into a piece of Luo history and folklore, the story of Gipir and Labongo. You can visit the very spot where it is said the Luo chief, Uvungu, struck the ground with an axe on the day his two sons, Gipir and Labongo, decided to go their separate ways after a disagreement.

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The Pakwach bridge seen from a distance

This place is found near the former railway quarters. There, you will also find the revered medicine man called Omulegezi. He will tell you the rich, yet sad story about this historical separation told across nations by Luo speakers.

If the ancestors approve of your visit, he could go the extra mile and perform rituals that he claims will lead to the miraculous appearance of the very axe used that day, that it will spring up from underneath the water and swing itself in all directions before being slowly swallowed back by the river.

“Please note that this particular miracle will only come to pass after you have parted with a fat bull, a sheep, goat and two hens, all of  which will be offered as sacrifices to appease the Luo gods, which live in another world found underneath this river,” Omulegezi says. The Pakwach bridge area is also a good place for bird watching.

At the shores of the River Nile, you can catch over 20 species of fish. These include the helicopter fish, elephant fish, alakre fish and  otete fish. There is also the amazing yellowish electric eel fish. This type of fish generates electric fields. When you touch it, you get a mild shock.

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The electric eel fish is one of the wonders of the Nile

Better still, you could buy yourself either fresh or cooked anja fish, a type of fish loved by the Alur. They claim it increases a man’s  sexual prowess.

Other spots to explore include Fort Emin Pasha, the Albert Nile, a rock climbing challenge at Wang Nyamulia (a rock that has a voluptuous figure like that of a woman), the hot springs, the Western arm of the rift valley, the cultural dances at the cultural booths, Rwot Omach Gwar Wii tombs, Leb Kampala (the spot where the White Nile kisses the Albert Nile), Jukia rolling hills and the remnants of the Packwach pier.

 

More than the eclipse at Pakwach

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