While in Uganda I had the chance to visit spots away from the maddening crowd. The roads out there are active with commerce, since that is one of the only ways the folks from the villages can “go to market.”
What we have here is a mix of images from the roads of Uganda. These show, I believe, that the folks care about what they are doing and try to present as best they can. I admire anyone who does her or his best.
And yet, due to poverty or some other unknown reason, some places are rough and the people desperate.
But the roads of Uganda also have a deeper and more complex history. For those of us who have forgotten the history of northern Uganda, or have never known it, there is a dark, black history. That history rises like the grim reaper himself on the consciousness of the people in northern Uganda. That history is from Joseph Kony and his band of insane followers sadly called the lord's resistance army. Those criminals destroyed many lives. Even though they are now gone from northern Uganda, the fear lives on. People still refuse to leave refugee camps.And yet, from a simple traveller's perspective, there is little evidence that anything bad ever took place. But history and nature have a way of conspiring together to destroy the past. People forget, or choose not to remember. And nature provides the great eraser: through rain, and wind, and sun and time. Thus, the past washes away. I saw little hard evidence of the great social catastrophe that started in the 1980s and lasted for many years. But I saw the fear in the people if the subject came up. People do not forget horror. What I did see was this house clearly shot up by rifle fire. But that was about it.
But the story behind the bridge you are about to see tells the story of horror and how the physical evidence has all but disappeared. Follow me along here. We are in northern Uganda heading south on the major route to Kampala. There is a left turn in the road (driving is on the left here).
But then, getting closer to the bridge, the car is stopped by a group of LRA who appear from the bushes. There is no avoiding the stop. They drag you from the car and do nasty things to you. You are still alive because you are reading this. Those people with you were not so lucky. They too were raped and beaten, but did not survive.
This bridge was one of Joseph Kony's favorite ambush points, as people tried to flee to the south. Many hundreds, if not thousands of people met a grim reaper at this bridge.
The bridge, with it's nice new painting, and nature, with it's new growth, have hidden the history. So how do I know these things? The history lives in the mind of the driver I travelled with: to, over and past the bridge. It is known, simply, as the Ayago Bridge.