A word from Curt
We spend about half of our time Up Country.
Our Journey takes us into northern Uganda, South Sudan, and Kenya.
We are currently on a trip with our home church (Dry Creek Baptist LA) to their people group, the Kakwa.
We’re posting chapters from our new ebook, Trampled Grass.
If you enjoy the stories, please pass them on.
You can download the entire book at www.creekbank.net.
We’ll be posting about this week’s journey on Facebook/Twitter at #goChadan/#UpCountry
Blessings on your journey.
Chapter 4 #UP COUNTRY
“I’m going up the country/Got to get away.”
“Canned Heat in “Up the Country”
Most of the stories in Trampled Grass take place in the part of Uganda called “Up Country.”
This rural and wild part of the country is often sneered at by residents in Kampala. It’s considered backwards and unstable.
It’s our favorite part of the country.
Uganda isn’t a large country. Its size compares roughly to our state of Colorado.
Its neighbor to the north, South Sudan, is about the size of Texas with Oklahoma thrown in.
Comparison of Uganda and the United States
Up Country Uganda is rural.
For better or worse, it’s the real Africa.
You cannot understand Uganda without a geographical understanding of its relationship to the Nile River.
The Nile begins its long journey as it surges out of Lake Victoria at Jinja, Uganda. This is considered the source of the great river.
This section, commonly known as the Victoria Nile, flows north then turns west across central Uganda where much of it is actually a large swampy area called Lake Kyoga.
Uganda’s main north-south highway crosses the Nile at one of the country’s most beautiful spots, Karuma Falls. This is where Up Country begins.
Immediately, there is a different look and ambiance.
The trees thin as grasslands dotted with Palm Trees dominate the landscape.
The people are different also. The Up Country tribes are primarily Nilotic while those south of the Nile are Bantu. This creates a delineation between the two regions.
Until a decade ago, you crossed at Karuma Falls at the possible risk of your life. Northern Uganda was in the purview of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
More on that misnamed group later.
Before turning north, the Nile passes through Murchison Falls National Park in and out of Lake Albert. This area is renowned for its animal life and beauty.
It’s now called the Albert Nile and crisscrosses Up Country before entering South Sudan on its continued long journey to Egypt.
Most of the stories in this book take place along the Albert Nile. There are three major refugee camps along the River: Adjumani Camps, Rhino Camps, and Koboko Camps.
Adjumani, which is actually a dozen clusters covering a county wide area, is where Dinka refugees have settled.
Rhino Camp is primarily occupied by the Nuer tribe.
Koboko Camp contains Kakwa refugees from neighboring Congo.
Matrix of Koboko Camp clusters
I feel much more comfortable in Up Country than on the urban shores along Lake Victoria.
It’s probably because I’m from “the sticks in Louisiana.” I’m Up Country. At least that’s what the folks in Louisiana would call us.
That’s all right, Jesus was Up Country as far as the Jerusalem Jews were concerned. He and his band of followers were considered “Country Bumpkins.”
People from our largest city, New Orleans (http://www.creekbank.net/neworleanshearts/), sneer at our part of Louisiana as “backwards and ignorant.”
That’s similar to the reaction of citified Kampalans to Uganda’s distant north.
So I understand about how Up Country folks feel. Many times they use the term “marginalized.” They’re underdogs.
And we Americans always love an underdog.
Like John “Karamajong” Bell, I prefer the wild part of Uganda.
John Bell preferred Up Country.
Bell, a British colonial administrator, so preferred northern Uganda that visitors to his Entebbe office were invariably told, “He’s not in. He’s gone to Karamajong.” That’s how he got his nickname.
On our trips to the wild North, we tweet with hashtag #UpCountry
In Trampled Grass, you’ll learn about the people who live Up Country, a place where you’re made to feel welcome.
A place where babies often burst out crying at the sight of a white man. A place where we are showered with rural hospitality and kindness.
It’s where we are often startled, surprised, and delighted.
At other times, shocked, disgusted, and disappointed.
It’s Up Country.