The weeks

twentytwelve








Since the LRA/Joseph Kony story exploded in cyberspace and beyond last week we find it timely to tell an old war story. Not to try and help out with the big problems they still are facing in Northern Uganda, DRC, CAR and South Sudan, but (and yes we are white - but not do-gooders or neocolonialists) to give you a small personal account without stepping on anybody's toes. Hopefully.

If it helps to soften the whole idea of white people caring about Africa. We did write about LRA/Kony for years and met many of the victims. We honestly tried our best to expose the monster, the President's lack of will to solve the problem etc.

But to the story. This picture is from 1996. Helle and I had promised ourselves not to enter any war zones together. We had our son in 1994 and he should not be without both parents.

So what are we doing here in a convoy which has stopped in the middle of Konyland? Just a few days before another convoy had been attacked on this road and several people killed. The UPDF guys you see in this picture are not really crack commandos if you get the hint. It will be dark within an hour and nobody knows whats going on. It's not our first trip to Gulu, but our first on road and in our own Landrover, the good old Truck, a 109 long base model.
That car always fulfilled it's obligations, but sometimes not without complaints. Here The Truck definitely does not want to be in a war zone. So the alternator is not working. Which again means that when we finally get on our way to Gulu our lights and engine are running on the battery. The convoy splits up when darkness arrives. Everybody is for him/herself. UPDF are the first to make a run for safety leaving the cars and people they were supposed to protect. We have filled the 109 with a bunch of priests who had no transportation. They are luckily in touch with higher powers. So we are not shot at. Gulu is completely dark, like in completely dark, when we enter the town. Our headlights are below candlelight lux. More like a match about to burn out. We have to find the hotel in pitch black Africa. The engine is coughing now and Gulu is under attack from LRA.

Divine intervention is something to believe in. We somehow find the lodge and as we roll through the gate the engine dies just inside the courtyard. Exiting stuff. We had the alternator fixed next day by a mechanic who had been in hiding in the bush most of the night, because of the attack. "Gulu is fine", he said. Nice guy.

And that's it. The journey back was even worse. But that's for another day.