The Teso tribe of East Africa numbers about 3.5 million people, most of whom live in NE Uganda. After Kampala, Tesoland was the first place I visited in the country. Nearly three years later I still hold it in my heart as one of the most special places in the world. Centuries old traditions remain firmly engrained in the culture here. While that’s not unique among tribes in Africa, rarely are they so welcoming to outsiders as the Teso. Take, for instance, their nearby cousins, Kenya’s Turkana. During colonial times even Great Britain dared not enter their tribal lands. The colonial power shut off the Turkana Region and required a special pass of any outsider wishing to visit. Above, villagers enjoy beer and peanuts at the local bar. The local brew, shared from a communal clay pot, is concocted from millet and sucked through long straws made from reeds. In[…]Read More
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Take five minutes to explore Obalanga’s weekly market, the largest in NE Uganda’s Amuria District. Here people come from surrounding towns and districts to buy and trade, make repairs, catch up with friends, and hear from politicians and itinerant preachers. The predominant language heard here is Ateso.Read More
Amuria Health Centre has been packed beyond capacity in recent weeks, with more people occupying the floors than hospital beds. As the rains continue to fall, more and more people here contract malaria. During the rainy season, when streams rise and lowland areas become flooded, mosquitoes breed in greater numbers. This health centre’s resources (Amuria has no official hospital) are stretched thin even outside the rainy season. The entire district of over 300,000 shares just one doctor for all its public health centres. He travels around from village to village and is rarely in one place for more than a day. When medicine and supplies are available, the cost is picked up by the government. When they run out, which is all too often, the only option for patients is to pay cash for drips, drugs, and needles from the local pharmacy and bring them to the hospital. “Most of[…]Read More
I’ve made remote Amuria District my base this year. However, I may not be able to go back for some time as all the roadways into the main town have been rendered impassable by floods. A month ago we were wondering if the rain was ever going to start. Now it has come full-force, isolating villages, bringing down huts, and flooding farmers’ fields. For the moment, more work from PSI has kept me in Kampala. Below, a motion picture of the dreary view from my concrete house in Amuria town. Nature is never kind in this part of Uganda. Far from the dependable, fertile, rolling hills and mountains of the west, the eastern land of the Teso tribe almost counts on nature’s capriciousness, alternating between flood and famine. “Every year it changes,” says Samuel Opio, a resident of Kapelebyong, a sub-county of Amuria District. “Some years there’s too much sunshine,[…]Read More