Thursday, 27 May 2010

Half Term at Sipi Falls

Once again combining a work trip with some sightseeing, we hit the road over the girls' half term break. We visited 2 of the IMC clinics with which Alison has been working based in Lira and Pader in the North of Uganda, until quite recently inaccessible due to the war waged by Kony's Lords' Resistance Army. Particularly in Pader, the level of healthcare is very basic and there were a lot of sick people waiting in line to see the only doctor in attendance that day. Pader clinic is IMCs first venture into a private/public partnership, so there is a great deal of effort being put into making it work, but inevitably a lot of obstacles need to be overcome, not least of all differing working practices.

After leaving the clinics we headed back to Kampala via the beautiful Sipi Falls, which comprise a series of waterfalls fed by the glaciers of neighbouring Mount Elgon, once Africa's highest peak. The accomodation comprised rustic huts with hot showers supplied by wood fires and the fresh mountain air was a welcome break from the dusty heat of Kampala. We spent 2 full days there and were joined by some good friends Natalie and George. We trekked to all 3 waterfalls including a trip over the top of one of them upon the recommendation and reassurance of some local likely lads. Their idea of steep and slippy was somewhat different from ours, but we made it over the rickety ladders and precarious bridges to live to tell the tale. Another example of the disparity between English and African risk assessment!

The journey home was rather drawn out as it coincided with the start of the new Ugandan school term and most children board here. There was also a local election happening and the roads were full of supporters and armed police and tanks. Doesn't bode too well for the presidential elections early next year, but we will thankfully be gone by then!

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