Since we moved to Uganda I have always wanted to visit Lira District, but neither the time nor the opportunity was there. So many WTA students and teachers come from the north and speak so fondly of their home area - yet there is such a negative image of "war-torn northern Uganda" -even the phrase itself is over-used and no longer true. However, with WTA now on a full-scale exam schedule, I had a few unstructured days, so decided spontaneously to set out driving past the turning to WTA and see what happened...
The road is straight and almost Route 66-ish in feel - even with an improbable road-side diner, complete with gingham tablecloths and the best postcards in Uganda - I just had to stop and see! Since the multi-speed-bump fiasco of 2009 (the team must still remember the agony and hysteria - cue Helena, Sara, Amanda and Petra!), the road is astonishingly well-constructed, with road markings in places (rare in Uganda), as far as Karuma Falls - where the Nile provides a clearly defined crossing to 'THE' north. It used to effectively be the unofficial crossing into LRA territory, and the bridge is still heavily policed so it already feels different. Photography is forbidden.. so I asked them nicely and the police not only allowed me to take photos but also posed for their own one. This is my new tactic - to be more polite to them and see if it helps. Grumpy looking baboons hang around just after the bridge waiting for snacks and look more menacing, as if they will trash your car if you stop for long enough. They are thoroughly dislikeable animals, in my opinion.
- five stories from five students at WTA telling us about life at school and why school matters to them
Story 2: Story of Hope
Hope's story. A news text to my mobile this week reads "Kony constantly changing his hideouts as manhunt steps up.... Uganda's 'Daily Monitor' has the headline: " Army capture Kony's top general in ambush" . All that and Kony 2012 too - is it information overload? How do we know what to believe?
Over the last few months many questions about Kony and the 'war-torn north' have come our way, because WTA, was originally set up to provide a safe place for young people from the north.... and indeed, some WTA students have experienced life firsthand with the LRA. Although 'he' may not currently be in Uganda, the effects of Kony's presence are very much evident.
Sometimes the best way to understand a complicated situation is to read the story of one individual. This is some of Hope's story - a 17 year old girl in S3.
We are please to announce the beginnings of a new not-for-profit company Serve Direct Uganda Ltd., registered in Uganda. This company will allow us to expand our support for those with pressing needs in Uganda.