We’ve been in Uganda more than week and it’s been all I could have wished for the students and more. The Backpack Journalism crew this year is fantastic — hard-working, open, enthusiastic, uncomplaining. We’ve experienced a lot from the chaos of Kampala rush hour traffic to miles of muddy, rutted roads in the countryside that don’t quite deserve that description where our intrepid bus driver Sam used what we are now calling “Sam-wheel drive” to get us through. My Fitbit translated the bumps and bounces into more than 19,000 steps for the day.
The landscapes are ever changing, from the roadside towns we passed through to small clusters of villages with the thatched-roof round houses that are everywhere.
What I love about these journeys is the chance to meet and talk with people — Lewi, a South Sudanese refugee building a life for his family in Kampala; Sharon, a journalist working for a radio station in Adjumani, focusing on the stories of women and girls; Father Kevin from Jesuit Refugee Service in Kampala and Isaac from JRS office in Adjumani. These people and countless others generously give us their time and stories. They make us feel most welcome even as we lug around cameras or ask them to move heavy wardrobes so we can get the best shot. (We helped move them.) We are most welcome as the wonderful students try to learn the words for at least hello and thank you in the native languages — we are up to about three different languages.
I am sure we will hear “You are most welcome” many more times while we are here. I am most grateful.