The time has come round at last to leave for Uganda, not having been there for 18 months, the longest break for many years. Roz Pearse, who lives in Clacton-on-Sea and has been with me before as she used to be a sponsor and Trustee of Teso Educational Support Services (TESS) some years ago, is coming with me. We had hoped there would be other volunteers coming, but in the end, no one actually booked. This does, however, give us much more flexibility – we have already changed our itinerary as a result.
Robert Okiror will be collecting us at Entebbe and driving us for the month in one of Ben’s HOMESTEAD TOURS AND SAFARIS vehicles, which will be great as he is a close friend and a very experienced driver and guide.
Our outline itinerary is as follows:
|Wed 31st Oct||Check in at Birmingham at 04.00. Flying via Amsterdam and Kigali to Entebbe arriving at 10.30pm. There are no longer any direct flights from the UK to Uganda. Staying at Sunset Hotel for 2 nights.|
|Thurs 1st Nov||Visit Mabamba Swamp on the edge of Lake Victoria to look for the enormous pre-historic-looking Shoebill.|
|Fri 2nd||After collecting Rev Sam and Margaret Opol and their 5 year old twins from Mukono, Robert will collect us from Entebbe and drive us north west to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Masindi where they are breeding rhinos with the aim of reintroducing them to Murchison Falls National Park. They became extinct in Uganda in the 1980s. We are staying the night there and will go on a guided walk to look for rhinos which roam wild.|
|Sat 3rd||Drive to Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP), visiting the top of Murchison Falls on the way. Cross the Nile on the ferry and drive through the Park to Pakwach where we will stay 2 nights.|
|Sun 4th||Spend the day in Murchison Falls National Park|
|Mon 5th||Drive east to Teso where we will stay a night in Serere at Sam and Margaret Opol’s home. We may be able to make a detour to visit Ajuo Milfred whom some of us are supporting through her nursing training at Apac.|
Wed 14th (approximately)
|Drive from Serere to Ngora where we will stay for a week or ten days at Edith’s Home Guest House in the trading centre. During this time, we will spend several days with James Ikara at NYERO ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY TRAINING CENTRE, helping in whatever ways we can. We are taking various tools and resources. They are having a Graduation Day on the 8th.
We will also visit Ngora Hospital (to deliver baby blankets and clothes made and donated by people at Quorn Baptist Church as well as people in Clacton-on-Sea), Ngora School for the Deaf and Ngora High School, all of which I have links with. And we’ll spend the weekend with Rev John and Harriet Omagor in Kobwin, staying in the cosy little thatched hut they built for me 20 years ago.
|Probably move to Soroti today where we will stay with Ben Ejadu and/or Rev Naphtali Opwata. There is a lot of work to be done with Ben to make plans for and develop new activities and experiences for tourists visiting Teso with HOMESTEAD TOURS AND SAFARIS, a new tour company which I have been helping Ben build up. This will involve some travelling around to visit possible villages and homes, as well as staying a night at Ben and Robert’s ‘village’ home in Tubur.|
to Thurs 22nd
|Take Naphtali to Tororo Eye Hospital for review and assessment about his second cataract operation. Stay with Naphtali at Salem Guest House near Mbale for 3 nights.|
to Sun 25th
|Return to Soroti to stay with Naphtali and Gaudesia.|
|Sat 24th||TESS ALUMNI REUNION in Soroti, a wonderful opportunity to meet many of our old sponsored students who are now working and married – some will bring their babies and children. Roz is helping me compile a book of their amazing life stories.|
|Sun 25th||Leave Teso and drive to Mabira Forest near Lugazi, which is on the way back to Entebbe. We will stay at Griffin Falls Camp for 2 nights and look for birds and monkeys etc in the forest.|
|Tues 27th||Drive from Mabira Forest to Entebbe and stay our last night in Uganda at Sunset Hotel|
|Wed 28th||Check in at Entebbe Airport at 9.00pm and fly back via Amsterdam|
|Thurs 29th||Arrive at Birmingham at 8.35am|
I will try and stay in touch, but internet connection is very intermittent, even in Soroti.