This past Thursday we struck out for Nakaale, a village in southern Karamoja, to visit friends from the Orthodox Presbyterian Mission. But first we had to get out of Kampala, which from a traffic standpoint, is no small feat. By some estimates, the number of vehicles in southern Ugandan cities has tripled in the five years we've been here. Travel times from one place to another have often doubled. And then you have the boda boda motorcyles by the thousands, most carrying people but some carrying things like armoires or even refrigerators!
At the Presbyterian mission, we were hosted by Jim & Jenny Knox for the night. Jim & Jenny operate the mission's clinic. We also had coffee and good conversation with Dave & Sunshine Okken the following day before heading north to Kaabong.
As we wound our way north, Karamoja was as beautiful as ever, with red dirt, blue sky, and green land:
Since being back in Uganda, everything seems familiar this time. Even broken-out culverts that you don't see until you're nearly on top of them really don't come as a surprise anymore.
Entering the Jie territory of northern Karamoja, we spotted this group of young ladies resting from carrying heavy loads of firewood:
Leaving the Jie territory we were greeted with the sight of huge stacks of freshly cut firewood, lining the road like pioneer fortress walls. Though it's kind of sad to see the rampant deforestation, at the end of the day people need to cook. And most can't yet afford cooking gas.
Late Friday evening we rolled into the Baptist mission (where we lived the first two years here) and were warmly welcomed by the Echelon folks. They are in the middle of a busy time of incorporating and training new members of their team. Though we are eager to get up to Timu (this Wednesday) and back to the Ik and to our routines, it's inspiring to be around these folks who want to spread the news of Jesus to the peoples of this area and southern Sudan.