10-Dec-2005 -- This was an unplanned and unexpected line-hunting trip - a 40 minutes detour during our trip to eastern Uganda. The surprise element made this trip even more memorable.
Our trip started from Kampala the day before and we visited a project in Tororo, near the southeast corner of Uganda, only 7 km from the border with Kenya. After an overnight in Tororo, we headed north to visit another project in Mbale. After we concluded our visit in Mbale around 11 a.m., the group consisting of 3 cars started heading to Jinja about 120 km away. Our plan was to have lunch near Jinja at a spot known as the "origin of the Nile River".
About 7-8 km out of Mbale, out of habit, Ray took out his GPS to check the coordinates, and suddenly realizing that the convoy was very near the 1N 34E-point, about 9 km away. More importantly, the cars appeared to be heading straight to this confluence point. An impromptu line-hunting party was quickly organized, as we were getting closer to the point.
Ray stopped the convoy at a location about 3.4 km from the confluence point when a dirt road on the left side of the main highway appeared to be the route leading to it. At which location, one jeep was drafted for the unplanned line-hunting trip. The rest of the party continued onward to Jinja, and we planned to meet at a restaurant called Nile Porch. Other than Ray, the hunting party consisted of three other first-time line hunters – Alice, Linda, and Peter. Most of them just had a crash course on what line-hunting or the Degree Confluence Project was all about.
The side road we picked indeed was the best route to reach this confluence point. After 3 km we were in a village, and the point was about 400 meters to our left. After another 150 meters of driving in narrow village road, we decided to go on foot to enjoy walking through the pleasant and rather spread-out village.
We found the confluence point located in a cotton field, about 30-40 meters from a cluster of huts. A rather easy and most pleasant hunt. As we started doing the obligatory photos, a couple dozen of children and adults gathered. A group photo was called for. A couple of the young guys remembered the previous hunting party.
We spend a few minutes walking around the nearby huts, and shaking hands with the friendly folks before we took off to catch up with the rest of our group. The name of this village is Chaali, which is part of Budaka County within the Pallisa District. The entire hunt took just a little over half an hour. We met up with the group at Nile Porch, which has a spectacular view of the head water of the Nile River.
On our way back to Kampala that afternoon, Peter and Linda, now longer pointless, volunteered to join with Ray next day for another hunt - 0 33E – the nearest point from Kampala located on Lake Victoria. Alice made a call to a friend to figure out the best way for us to get to the lakeshore.
Special thanks to Suzanne Theroux, who arranged the terrific trip to Eastern Uganda for the group and made this quick hunt possible.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – a straight forward drive and possible to drive within 100 meters of the confluence point (Scale: 1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 3 – Traditional Ugandan village scene in an agriculture area (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 3 – Classic rural Uganda village (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)