30-Aug-2018 -- Uganda is an easy country for confluence hunting! Especially in Northern Uganda, merely a flat area, with enough roads to reach a Confluence within short walking distance. And this one required no effort at all! That means, whenever you’re able to go into the Karamoja region, what I luckily had to do for my work. So when my colleagues told me we were going to Kotido, and I looked it up on the map, I realized that this was very near the 3N 34E confluence. Actually, the main road passes only 300 meters south of the confluence point. So beside our professional duties during our two day field trip with the colleagues of Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment based in Lira, which encompasses assessment of degraded rivers and wetlands, my goal was to visit this confluence point.
Our first day was spent on visiting a Shea product information centre in Otuke. The Shea nut can be used for making solid cooking fats, cosmetics, and soaps, and gives an alternative income for livelihoods without degrading the environment. Further on, we visited a wetland and a school where a biogas installation for cooking will be installed. At a certain part we had to wait for 1½ hours when a truck was stuck in the mud after the heavy rainfall of the night before; we passed making an alternative road through the grass fields beside the main road.
Late afternoon we reached Kotido, a commercial centre in the Karamoja region. The Karamojans are probably the most traditional tribe in Uganda, with clothes as a dress. Their main source of income is livestock, they are shepherds of cattle and goats. During the rainy season they produce some grains like maize and sorghum. They have a history as being a violent tribe, but nowadays have become a bit more peaceful, although traces of their past are still there. Karamoja is also the driest part of Uganda with annual rainfall of about 500 mm.
After a night rest in Kotido, we set off at 8 o’clock for the rest of our program and way back to Lira. Some 10 km after leaving Kotido we started the GPS and were within 4 km of the Confluence. As we kept going, distance reduced until some 320 meters. We stopped the car, and together with Daniel Kitizo and Isaac Banadda, I started walking through the grazing fields guided by the GPS, took the necessarily photos and back to the car. Altogether some 15 minutes “lost”. Returning at the car, locals had gathered around the rest of our colleagues. Empty bottles and biscuits were shared with them, as an appreciation for letting us in their area.
We continued our work, visiting more degraded sites and schools for biogas, until we reached Lira again in the afternoon.