I spoke at St Chad's Church on Palm Sunday, using my reflection and photographs from the Uganda trip as a way of unpacking how my Lent had been this year.
The easiest way of synchronising the audio and the images seemed to be to make a video.
I spoke at St Chad's Church on Palm Sunday, using my reflection and photographs from the Uganda trip as a way of unpacking how my Lent had been this year.
The easiest way of synchronising the audio and the images seemed to be to make a video.
Would you go again?
Yes, er..no..er, maybe.
Yes, I would go again. I felt tremendously privileged to be given such access to an amazing country and people, not least because of the contacts made possible by those in and around our group. Other than the last few days when we did the game drives, it felt like we were not on the tourist trail and we were really able to get to know the people. As a photographer it was the first time I have been in a place where people generally act so openly towards being photographed. In the UK, the camera has become an object of suspicion and people are wary of being pictured as evidence of something. In Uganda there was delight, and not just from the children, as we took a photo and then showed the image on the back of the camera.
No, I wouldn't go again. I suppose I would be concerned about going back to Uganda and not having that same opportunity to spend each day concentrating on a place and trying to capture it in a RAW file. I certainly don't think I could go back on an off the shelf tourist package to do 'gorillas in the mist' et al. Neither do I think I could go back on one of the "mission trips" to build a maternity hospital or the like. It would seem far more fruitful to pay a local to build it so there is employment AND a hospital.
Maybe? I spoke to Francis, one of our drivers, and there would certainly be a way of going back and having a different experience but keeping the important elements that, even with two months of reflecting since I got back, energise my interest and desire to photograph. I would like to return to be able to spend some more time in the landscape, but for a whole host of good reasons, that was difficult on this trip...so, maybe. I was also inspired by the people I saw who were actively committed to changing their nation; not necessarily at the political level, but those who were building schools - that was certainly impressive.
I have started writing the next series of posts in which I hope to show some of the photographs that I brought back that I am really pleased with - not necessarily "exhibition" quality (a technically pleasing image which speaks for itself without the need for any external explanation). Some of them, inevitably, will be in those posts because they stir in me a memory of a moment or a person that I wish to retain.
Our final day and another early start. We needed to be back at Paraa for the ferry so we left Pakuba by 6:45. The ferry does some early runs for workers and then closes until the tourists arrive. We needed to be on the road and get some miles under our belts. We crossed the river watching the sunrise.
We had a choice of routes for the return trip to Entebbe. We could re-trace most of our northward journey, better roads but it meant going the long way round the National Park. Our choice, therefore, was to head across the Nile at Paraa and then take the dirt roads south across the park to Masindi, cutting off the big dog-leg. The park south of the Nile is far more forested and if there were animals in any great abundance they were well hidden in the foliage.
We were in for a long journey, so the best thing was to hunker down with a book or music, or chat with whoever was in the next seat in the van. I tried to doze where possible, but was aware that we were in for some 30 hours on the road (or in the air) with a stop-over near the airport. The drivers continued to do a great job of coping with the state of the roads and some of the less careful other road users.
The town of Masindi felt like a bit of a shock after three days in the park and leaving the town we hit the Kampala-Masindi road on its south-easterly. After about 40 kms we entered the little town of Kibangya where we joined the Kampala-Gulu road we had driven up five days previously. We stopped soon after at the Kabalega Diner. We had to go through metal detectors between the cars and the diner - the owners were concerned about the activities of El-Shabaab, although we didn't see anything like this anywhere else.
We had a bit of a game going - who could clear themselves our their Ugandan Shillings in time for our departure. I spent some of my final notes on a decent coffee and then a large, chilled bottle of water. Returning to my seat I noticed that the top didn't have either a plastic film cover or a seal around the cap. In fact the cap was slightly split as if it had been screwed on more than once. I returned it was was given one with a proper seal. Better safe than sorry!
We shared the Ugandan papers around the table, and I read the article about allegations of corruption between the OPM and UNHCR in the Daily Monitor. I have to say I did feel crestfallen that the amazing work we saw and people we had shared time with was, in some way, tarnished. Does the actions of a few diminish the efforts of those who work from the next of motives? A question many need to consider in the light of the recent revelations about Oxfam and ONE!
We got to Kampala and the traffic was building, even more so as we got around to Entebbe. Seemingly, this was the first day back for many of the big schools and so there were more cars on the road as a result. Our van was in front, but we pulled to one side to allow a police convoy to pass us, blue lights and sirens going. The other van had tucked in behind them and tailgated them through the lines of traffic which had made way for the police. A car pulled out in almost directly front of us and Francis had to brake and take avoiding action - probably the only moment on the trip that I ought we might have an accident.
We arrived a the Boma by 2:15, 7½ hours after leaving Pakuba. The hotel had been where we had spent our first night in Uganda, and they kindly offered us a room and access to their lounge and restaurant as we awaited our flight home at a few minutes before midnight. We had a light lunch first, and then stretched and rested. We needed to use the internet to check-in for our flight to Brussels.
Chris, Alan and I went for a walk down to Faze 3, a cafe overlooking the end of the airport and out over Lake Victoria, so we sat on the large veranda and enjoyed a passion fruit juice.
Back the the Boma, I opted for a final tilapia and chips for supper and with a fairly minimal bar bill I handed over my complete stock of remaining Ugandan Shillings.
Security at the airport was noticeable. The van was checked as we entered the drop off area, and baggage was checked by X-ray machine as we entered the concourse. Entebbe is not the busiest or best equipped airport I have been to, and so late into the evening we sat at a cafe table and waited for the call for our flight to Brussels.
Somewhere over the Sahara I watched a film and tried unsuccessfully to get some sleep. The screen on the back of the seat in front showed our progress north, parallel with the Nile up through Egypt, and then across the Mediterranean and up the Adriatic. I kept my earbuds in and some gentle music on my iPad and dozed in and out. We arrived in Brussels before sunrise and with something like a 40oC temperature difference from when we boarded the plane eight hours earlier. I had thought to bring some Euros, so buying coffee and pastries was easy and we had hours to kill.
It was certainly good to be over home turf. The experience of Uganda had been so full on; the sights and sounds of the place plus the constant awareness needed for simple things like decent water and food. I had hardly felt any jet lag on the way out despite the three hour time difference because of this having to be constantly alert and there being a full programme of activities to absorb and photograph.
It was a relief of sorts to be able to text family to let them know I was home, to tip the entire contents of my suitcases into the wash basket and to soak in the bath. The fine Ugandan orange dust was visible on the bottom of the bath after the water had drained out. Great trip - but good to be home! Our journey over the last day and a half could be measured in the thousands of miles, but the distance travelled by emotions can't be so easily calculated. I am looking forward to time to think, process and write.
Despite this being the story of the last day of the pilgrimage, there will be some more posts as I continue to unpack and learn. Thanks for reading (so far).
Inevitably, our last full day of photography had to come around. I joined the early trip out so that I might finally get to use the large tripod I had brought with me and try some of my graduated filters so I could get a good sunrise shot. Walter directed us to an ideal location - close to the road but with reasonable foreground, trees in the distance and a wide open sky. We revelled in the silence and stillness as we watched the sky gain in colour and brightness, before the sun became visible on the horizon. There was nobody around - only the nine of us plus drivers. It was perfect.
It was still in the high 30s, so we dozed after lunch. Our plan for later was to split into two groups. One would take the vans and head out for a final game drive, and the remaining four of us were to meet a guide and we would walk up past Amin's old lodge and into the bush beyond. We were introduced to Deo. He was a young man with a rifle. We were told that they would only have one bullet, so I asked him how much ammunition he was carrying
I have a round...[mild panic on my part as he looks to the sky thoughtfully]...I have around thirty [phew]
We left the lodge and walked south along the dirt road, before cutting into the scrub up to the ruins. The building had clearly been built to impress, a snaking S shape along the brow of the hill with sweeping views of the Nile, but Amin is not remembered with affection and his palace is just being left to fall down - for the present at least. The roof and windows were long gone, but the walls still showed evidence of expensive taste and skilled craftsmen.
We had been up this way on a previous drive. The track runs close to the ruins on the eastern side and then follows the walls around along the southern side for a distance. When we did this in the vans we had met a man setting up a field camera which would take photos or videos if it detected motion, as we were led to believe there was a leopard with cubs somewhere close by. As we retraced this route on foot Deo made us be as quiet as possible. He signalled for us to stop and look up - several of us got a fleeting glimpse of leopard fur as the big cat saw us and slipped quickly away, deeper into the buildings. Deo was concerned about this. Leopards are ambush killers, so he thought the cat was probably assuming we were going to walk around to the other side, as we had done in the vehicles, and that would leave us vulnerable to an attack. He led us quickly away from the building and down the slopes heading east. I couldn't help but glance nervously over my shoulder to see if there was any following movement in the long grass on either side.
At the bottom of the slope we could relax our pace and take in the view ahead of us. A sweeping 180o vista lay before us, gently sloping up to the horizon. The left hand side was predominantly grassland with trees dotted around. Deer and antelope could be seen in quite large number. In the mid-ground ahead of us Deo spotted a hyena with its dirty brown coat and stubby semi-circular almost Mickey Mouse-like ears. It too had seen the antelope, and was making its way across ahead of us towards them. The right hand side of the landscape we faced was more wooded and spread down to the side of the Nile, flashes of reflections from which could be seen through the trees. We made our way forward through grass and thorn bushes, still alert to the possibility of a predator close by, and stopped to watch the hyena disturb the antelope, now some way away over to our left.
We were still making our way gently towards the river. Nearing the shore, the trees became a little denser and we could hear and the see elephants in quite some number. Some were heading to our right towards the water, a large male was moving in the opposite direction, presumably now fully rehydrated. We counted over 50 in an arc ahead of us; a few individuals, more in what we presumed were family groups and one larger cluster in the trees. We daren't approach too close, and so we couldn't take the types of photographs we had been able to on our arrival at the Park, but the moment was far too profound to capture in 20 megapixels. Standing and watching these creatures - gentle and gracious despite their size - was captivating. What threads of DNA and behaviour, I wondered, connected us through our common mammalian ancestry?
Deo had us approach the ruined lodge cautiously and from a different direction. Trying to climb the gravel inclines silently was a challenge. Nothing was stirring so we continued back towards where we had first seen the leopard, although at a greater distance. Sure enough, there on a window ledge, we could see the male leopard lying with a paw dangling casually over the edge. He might have appeared asleep, but we could make out his eye opening and checking us out as we focused our long lenses on him.
We tried to get a good shot but the angles were against us. We retreated back towards our own lodge with a sense of triumph and with full hearts. Deo told us of the time he was driving through the park on his motorcycle and a leopard jumped out from a bush, knocking him to the ground. In the fall he was unable to grab his rifle, so he stood looking at the beast before yelling as loud as he could. The animal retreated into the bushes. Deo said that if he hadn't been wearing a helmet then he almost certainly would have been a goner. He wore a wristband saying 'Jesus is my saviour' in memory of that encounter.
We reconvened with our colleagues over supper. They had been present at a lion kill. We had seen the elusive leopard. Honours even.
It had been a hot and sticky night with little movement of air. I was aware of Alan getting up to go on the early morning sunrise and game drive trip, but I couldn't muster the energy to get up and needed some space to sort my bags and clothes.
The early venturers returned and we had breakfast together at 8 as we had to be off promptly to the Paraa Lodge where we were to spend a relaxing morning with shade and downtime before out afternoon expedition up the river. We broke into groups as the mood took us; some sitting by the pool, others nestling indoors whilst the rest of us sat under a large brolly at a table outside for coffee. Near the table was a bank down into the trees and we were aware of noises coming from down in the shadows. A group of warthogs were snuffling through the leaves and grass seeking out their lunch.
As part of our lunch package we had permission to use the pool, which some of us did. We swam and splashed about for a while, posing for photos and enjoying a cold Pepsi served from the thatched bar at the side. Lunch was buffet style, but quite reasonable nonetheless up on the veranda with a better view down to the ferry and quay from where our boat trip would begin. At the far end of the veranda was a large group of Chinese, presumably not the ones who built the roads, and next to us was a group of Americans we got into conversation with. They were on a Mission trip helping to build a hospital. They came every year and spent their final day at Paraa to unwind.
The vans took us down to the quay and we embarked onto our boat. We had a trip of around 10 kms upstream and then, if we wanted to walk up to the Falls themselves we would have to disembark and make the last kilometre or so on foot. The Nile varies in width at this point, several hundred meters in most places and up to 10 mtr deep in the middle. Several boats seemed to be heading up at around the same time, so our pilot took us across the river for a safety briefing. It was reassuring to know that there were life vests under our seats, but slightly less reassuring was the advice that if the boat capsized then the best thing would be to swim to the middle and await rescue. If you swam to the bank then the crocodiles would probably get you first.
There was a great variety of wildlife in the water and on the banks. Crocodiles lay in the shade and birds flitted from branch to branch. Hippos watched us lazily from the shallower patches. Milton, our guide and skipper, was quick to spot them and point them out. Being the only boat around we were able to make our way at our own pace and get some good close up shots.
We continued our easterly heading and the river wove from side to side ahead of us, but in the distance a row of hills became clear. It was through this escarpment that, at some point, the Nile had to pass. Flecks of foam began to appear in the water, steadily increasing in size and frequency as we drew closer to the cataract...and then it came into view. Even in the distance it was impressive; not so much in height but in ferocity. 300 m3 of water per second funnelled into a chasm a little over 7 mtrs wide.
The boat drew up to a landing point and we met Emmanuel, the guide who would walk us up to the Falls. It was 38oC and we each took a large bottle of water. Several of the group remained in the boat for the return trip.
I had been looking forward to photographing the Falls for some time, and had done some research online to see what were the common views and shots - I was determined to try to get something different. We followed the trail along the southern bank, climbing up to the top of the rocks. Emmanuel knew his stuff and we stopped at regular intervals for a drink and to catch our breath, and to admire the benefits of different viewpoints. I got a reasonable shot from a rocky promontory down at river level, but struggled as we climbed higher - there was a wonderful view as in which the spray caught the sunlight and the rainbow effect was magnificent...but I couldn't find a space without a lot of grass in the way. Almost at the top a walkway heads back along the escarpment edge, and we could see the main falls and the Freedom Falls which run around to one side. Finally we descended slightly to the rocks alongside the main force of the Falls and I was able to catch one shot that I liked.
We waiting for the ferry and boarded as foot passengers, crossing the Nile and watching the hippo heads bob in the sunset reflecting waters. Getting back to the lodge before dark was a real race and we could see dramatic areas of fire at different points, as the natural cycle of grassfire and rebirth continued unabated.
Our final morning in Gulu and we ate early to be able to pack the vans and be on the road for 7:30. We were heading west to the Murchison Falls National Park. We had already entered this park on its eastern edge when we stopped on the way up to Gulu, but this time we were going further in and staying for several days.
We had a two hour drive (about 125 kms), although with stops along the way it would take longer. The first half of the journey was on a mix of tarmac and hard dirt roads until we reached the village of Olwiyo where we joined the main Arua-Kampala road. This was one of the new Chinese built highways. These roads are constructed by the Chinese, and we would periodically see their compounds set back from the road and with high corrugated iron fences lined with barbed wire. The Chinese labourers had no communication with those around them. The amount of traffic currently does not justify these roads, as welcome as tarmac is, but there are clearly substantial advantages to be had for the Chinese in creating this infrastructure.
The terrain is relatively flat and mostly scrub bushland. Periodically we would pass through a small village. A series of brick single storey homes with open shop fronts facing the road were the most common feature. The shops seemed to sell very little, but were often brightly coloured with advertisements for mobile phone networks and, inexplicably, paint. Roundhouses and farmsteads would be behind the brick frontage and disappear back into the scrub. Some of the larger settlements would have a wide open space near the road which would be a Church and School complex. We stopped at one such place, Purongo, to photograph the beautifully decorated Church and stretch our legs. The School rules on the noticeboard make interesting reading!
I got angry with myself here. My normal photographic comfort zone is to be alone, working slowly and patiently to find a composition in the scene before me, but in this larger group it was necessary to be aware of those working around us. I had also tried to force myself to find the less obvious images in places such as these, and so when I walked into someone else's shot I knew I had to walk away and find a different view to shoot.
The Murchison Falls National Park is an impressive area - bigger than the county of Hampshire, and in true colonial fashion the falls were named by the British explorers Samuel and Florence Baker in the 1860s after the then president of the Royal Geographical Society. It is quite probable that a Ugandan had found them at an earlier date and given it a local name!
As we continued west back towards the Nile again, the Park started to open up on our left, the south, and then as the river itself started to become visible on our right we reached the entrance to the park. Ahead of us, if we had stayed on the main road, was the Pakwach Bridge, another of the major infrastructure projects we had to be sensitive about photographing. We turned off the main road before the bridge to get onto the tracks to take us to the gate for the park. We stopped and got out of the vehicles to take some photos of the cracked mud flats where a river had recently been and Walter spotted the enormous footprints of an elephant in the dried mud. Little did we realise that just around the next bend the possible maker of those prints was standing with a companion in the marshes alongside the road.
After taking photographs, we drove to the entry gates and as we filled in forms and paid for our time there, more elephants approached.
We made the lodge at Pakuba for lunch and then had time to unpack and crash for a few hours. The lodge is based in what had been the servants' quarters for one of Amin's homes, and the ruins of his former grand residence could be seen on the brow of the hill to our left. Ahead of us lay the Nile - wide and majestic as it started its journey north from Lake Albert up towards Sudan, Egypt and the Mediterranean.
With the sun due to set just after 6pm, we headed out again at 4pm to have a game drive and to be out to shoot the sunset. It took a while for our eyes to adjust to the shapes and forms of the wildlife around us but we soon lost count of the antelopes, deer, wildebeest grazing either side of the dirt tracks. Our vans had open roofs, so when we stopped we could stand and shoot to our hearts' content. We spotted a lion lazing in the shade of a thorn bush to our right and were able to stop only a few feet from him. Across the road, we realised a lioness was also lying in the long grass. It was a really intense moment - trying to take good photographs but to do so quietly enough not to disturb the tranquility of the scene. When the lion got up to walk over to the lioness we could see that he had been badly injured.
Talking to a ranger later we understood that he had been caught in a snare almost a year ago, and whilst the snare had been removed, the deep scarring had not fully healed. He was still a fearsome beast.
As we drove further, giraffe were visible and a lone elephant. The animals that were moving seemed to be heading to the river, presumably for some water as the day cooled slightly, and so we too made our way to the riverbank. We reached the water's edge and could see hippos out in the shallows. Somebody helpfully reminded us that hippos are the biggest killer of humans by any wild animal in Africa! The scene before us was serene and awe inspiring. The river was no less majestic up close, and the orange reflection of the setting sun illuminated the full width. which at this point was over a kilometre.
In the distance we could see fishing boats and hear music from their radios.
The sun dipped below the hills to the west and the light started to go. We needed to be back at the lodge quickly, as rangers would fine us if they caught us driving after dark.
It was a hot and sticky night, the sort that made it difficult to sleep, but there were plans for an early drive tomorrow to catch sun-rise.
Previously, I had tried to summarise my reflections as far as the end of our first day in the town of Gulu, approximately half way through our visit to Uganda. In the eight posts prior to this one, I have written about my record of a single day - the visit to the Pagirinya Refugee Settlement, how I tried to capture something of the stories we heard in my notes and photographs. Those stories of the five people we spoke to and the wider discussions with the camp administration and Church leaders are still close to my heart.
The pictures I took that day were the first ones I worked on when back at my desk, and they have also been the ones I have spent most time looking at and showing to other people. The experience in the camp and that of meeting the individuals was not harrowing in itself, but as in those classic films, the emotion is best communicated by what is not seen or said. The expression in the eyes of the ladies we spoke to told us everything we needed to know. The exact details, therefore, were secondary. To have intruded uninvited further into their trauma, grief and imminent losing of hope would have been to desecrate the very stories we were wanting to record.
This day was by far the highlight of the visit; the hours spent in the camp came to be a rare and privileged time. The wonderful moments still to come on our tour would feel like they had been earned by the time spent being physically present and emotionally vulnerable in the settlement. My powerlessness to change the situation matched theirs, although I had the significant advantage of being able to go home afterwards.
One of the common complaints in the West is that of compassion fatigue. We have seen these types of images so many times they wash over us, but I am glad I am not a professional at dealing with the trauma of the refugees we spoke to because it allowed me to stay in that moment of being present long after I had left the camp and returned to my normality.
I want to ask myself where there can be any hope for Africa? Is there an inevitability of a cycle of violence as wave after wave of 'internal strangers' await their time to gain revenge, or capture power? As we were arriving back in the UK, news started to filter through of the arrival into Uganda of refugees from the DRC who had crossed Lake Albert. Even if the violence and refugee crises are solved then the incipient corruption would seem to leave the continent hamstrung.
For me, the hope for the future of Africa (at least in the recent history of Uganda and the current situations in South Sudan and the DRC) has to be its people. The age profile of these nations is hugely tilted towards the young. The pain in the eyes of the ladies we saw in Pagarinya was in sharp contrast to the light we could see in the faces of the boys who joined us in Opi Tiberius' small home.
This was true also in the determination and compassion we encountered in men like Francis, one of our drivers, and those who we had heard singing on our first full day from the AYF. Sadly we ran out of time to be able to go and see Francis' work in the slums of Kampala - maybe next time...
I had approached Pagirinya with a sense of bracing myself to record to the best of my ability whatever distress and suffering I found in that place. Yes, there was pain, but there was also a beauty - the servant-heartedness of the Church leaders, the dignity of the women and the resilience of the children.
In the month since my return my reading and the ongoing work of processing the photographs has forced me down different avenues of reflection and recollection, but the time in the camp is the memory that has stayed freshest; not because of the scale of the pain, but because of the simple humanity of the resilience we met face to face.
After talking with the group of women, we walked further into the block in the camp, and down to a brick built dwelling which had been put up for elderly or disabled refugees. Here we met Opi. We gathered in his main room and he had a bedroom behind a partition wall. As we talked to him, small children came and sat with us.
Opi had led a difficult life in South Sudan. He is blind, and so struggles to get by - his mother is now 92 and so couldn’t really help him. He was originally from the town of Loa, about 18 km north of Nimule on the main road to Juba.
He had very poor eyesight, so had been for medical treatment in Juba many times, but since 2000 he has been blind. Despite his blindness, he used hooks to catch fish. His community in Loa left together and so he couldn’t stay on his own. He was able to get to the border by car. He has four family members, including his mother and his sister, in the camp with him. As we spoke to Opi, he told us that his sister, now 61, was at a funeral service. Her daughter had died the day before in Juba during child-birth and a service was being held in the camp for her.
Opi arrived in the camp in July 2016, but no medical support was available for him. He had been taken to Kampala for a check up where they confirmed that the irises in his eyes are now dead, so he will not be able to see again. He has to rely on people to get water for him, so sometimes it can take 2-3 days for enough water to be collected for him to bathe properly. Opi learnt English when he was still able to read. He had been a Pastor, preaching the word of God in Loa. He sang to us a song in Ma’di, Arabic and English which said how Jesus never fails.
His sister Nora arrived and greeted us on her knees in the traditional manner. She is now Opi’s main carer. He is desperate for a solar powered MP3 audio-Bible in Ma’di, has native tongue, but they are prohibitively expensive.
As we left and made our way back to the vans, we passed his mother sitting on a rug in the minimal shade provided by the eaves of her hut. She clasped her hands together in greeting, but didn't speak. She looked tired beyond even her long years and yet despite her family's sufferings she showed no sign of self-pity, instead she wore a dignified resilience.
When we spoke to her daughter Jocelyn, Betty had been 7 km away cutting long grass for roofing and insulation. One bundle of the grass takes about an hour to cut, and it required 30 bundles to roof a round house. They also need to buy bamboo to make the roof supports for the grass to be attached to.
Betty has two boys and we had met Jocelyn her daughter. A second daughter is sponsored by an NGO called Far Reaching Ministries, and so is at boarding school in Kampala. Betty also has the care of a small child, the daughter of a relative who left the child when she remarried.
In Nimule, Betty had been a farmer. When they heard that soldiers were coming, her husband Simon Tako tried to return to Nimule from Juba but he was killed on the road, so Betty and the children left Nimule empty-handed.
We took a photograph to show some of the bundles of reeds that Betty had been to collect. Behind the reeds is a tarpaulin shelter and behind that is a typical thatched roundhouse.
Mary came from the village of Opari in Pageri County. Initially, when asked about her life in South Sudan she replied that she was too traumatised to talk about her family.
She left Opari and headed to Pageri after all her property was taken by soldiers. She then set out from Pageri to the Ugandan border. As she walked, the children became very tired and it rained heavily. On the second day she reached a UN reception camp at Elegu on the border. The UN met her but she had to wait another five days there. There was no shelter, so they sat in the open in heavy rain.
The UN sent vehicles to collect them and she arrived at Pagirinya in July 2016, so she has witnessed the camp grow right from the beginning. Now she has no means of sending the children to school, so they stay at home.
In South Sudan, Mary’s husband had been a farmer and Mary would sell his produce in the local market. Her husband had been shot dead in their home, so she was left with her two sons; Samuel Ganyi, now 13, and Mangisto Glad, now 14.
She is also struggling with the problem of finding money to buy clothes, as the children’s clothing is now torn.
Mary showed us her hut which was made with the UN tarpaulin’s she was given and then insulated with the reeds from the surrounding area.