The walk from Mbale to Bukedea.
JOURNEY OF HOPE AWARENESS AND CHARITY CAMPAIGN 2019
By Joseph Kizza
CURRENT LOCATION: BUKEDEA
A cow grazing here, another whipping flies off its backside there. A handful of goats going about their business against the backdrop of huge swathes of maize fields on an oddly overcast Wednesday morning. A little earlier though, for about one hour after leaving our camp site at Highway SDA-Namanyonyi Day & Boarding Primary School in Mbale, it is a busy stretch, as hordes of people en masse paint a picture of a typically busy weekday morning.
That's a glimpse of how the tenth leg of the Journey of Hope Walk 2019 started off.
In my previous diary, I mentioned how chilly Mbale is. Indeed, everyone woke up saying just that. It was cold. Thank God breakfast got us warmed up. And by the time the team got on the road to get their tenth leg going, they were all ready.
Rita Nkemba, the founding director of Dwelling Places, was in gear one. In fact, full gear. Aaron and Caitlene were following closely as the morning sunshine filtered through the trees and plants, creating interesting patterns on the road.
Kristen Fry, also part of the charity walkers, was not far behind.
Along the way, I would catch her smacking a 'high-five' with an excited child.
We walked past several men pushing their goods on bicycles.
At the front of the walking group was Rita, Linda, Aaron and Caitlene.
The group have been walking since Monday (July 1), from Kampala destined for Napak, Karamoja.
The 18-day journey will end in Lomaratoit village. On Wednesday, the team was headed for Bukedea from Mbale.
That is a distance of about 30km (from Mbale to Bukedea).
I particularly found the topography along the route interesting. When we walked into Kongunga Town Council at about 10am, one of the men working at a nursery bed site a couple of yards off the main road asked Aaron: "Where are you going?"
"Karamoja!" Aaron shot back.
"Oh, okay. Safe journey!" said the man.
The sight of the Komuge Rock Art Site in Kachumbala was one to behold.
Right after Kachumbala Sub-county headquarters and before Kachumbala Primary School, it was easy to make out distinct singing voices wafting from a structure a couple of yards off the highway. The people inside he facility sang hymns.
Paul and Isaac of Elpa Uganda have been monitoring the walkers and intervening when needed.
We walked into Aloet village in Suula parish, Bukedea subcounty.
Then finally in Bukedea, our pit stop.
Everyone was relieved to have made it to the pit stop.
It was an exhausting walk, and it showed after.
Aaron slipped into Slumberland.
Linda was in her own world.
Rita offered a proper meaning to 'being laid back'
Lynette coiled herself up.
Caitelene was in a good place.
Isaac pulled down his cap after taking a chill pill.
That's what 30km of walking does to you.
Hope took some deserved rest.
The team camped at the Bukedea district headquarters.
I noticed this dove had a ring around one of its legs as it nestled on the roof of the main building.
A total distance of 264km covered so far.
Next pit stop: KUMI
For its third edition, the biennial Journey of Hope campaign, has had partners give generously to make the walk a success: New Vision, Terres des Hommes (a Dutch organisation working to, among other things, end child trafficking), City Tyres, Cafe Javas and Girls Advocacy Alliance, which is aimed at eliminating gender-based violence and economic exclusion of women and adolescent girls.
ALSO RELATED TO THIS STORY
Journey of Hope Walk 2019 diary: Day Nine
Journey of Hope Walk 2019: 204km covered so far
In pictures: Journey of Hope Walk 2019 - Day Five
Journey of Hope Walk 2019 diary: Day Four
Journey of Hope Walk 2019 diary: Day Three
Journey of Hope Walk 2019 diary: Day Two
Journey of Hope Walk 2019 diary: Day One