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Travel Diary – June 6, 2023 - The Drive to Lonyi

Written by Rebecca Navarre

It’s our third full day in Uganda. My heart is already full.

We woke up in Gulu for our second morning there and met for breakfast as we typically do. The most common question is “did you hear the rooster at 4am or the dog at 3am or how many hours were you able to sleep”. Even with the limited hours most travelers get, we are always in great spirits when we board the bus. Which was repaired in the early hours while most of us slept and the part was 8 hours away at dinner time.

This morning we are heading to Moyo, to spend the majority of our remaining days. Moyo is a place that has captured my heart and many on our Pipeline Team. We have been supporting projects in Moyo for many years but the first team trip up to Moyo was also my first trip. Our accommodations are definitely not as comfortable and our choice of dinner locations are very limited but the opportunity for us to help is magnificent.

As we take the 3 hour bus ride to reach the ferry to cross the Nile River, I am filled with anticipation on what awaits us when we arrive. Moyo, is located in the Northern region of Uganda and 5 kilometers from the South Sudan boarder. The remote location and the complexity of traveling up the roads and across the Nile on a ferry, limits the amount of NGOs that are in Moyo helping. Even in our many years of being here, the number of Ugandans that I have met and that have never traveled to Moyo is very high.

Our plan for the arrival is set with many stops during the day. Our bus trips are very entertaining, we tend to sit in the same seats with the front passenger seat as the rotating choice, this is where you are up front for the experience. We laugh the whole time and tell stories and really get to know your team members. Bruce is typically our entertainment and keeps us all guessing what he is going to say next.

We arrived at the Nile banks and were pleasantly surprised when there was not a long line waiting to cross. We signed the travel log and received our pass to board, which was 2 dots from a sharpie marker placed on our fingernail. After a 10 minute wait the ferry arrived and we board. The ferry holds many vehicles, boda bodas, large semi trucks and many pedestrians. The vehicle next to my seat and many live chickens in the back seat, you can see almost anything.

Once we were across the Nile there seemed to be a calming atmosphere that entered the bus. The chaos of the city and the villages just isn’t here. Moyo has beautiful lush landscape and everything was really green.

We checked into the multi purpose hall where we stay for our duration and settled a bit before getting back on the bus to head to our new location.

Lonyi Village will soon be a training facility, lodging, cafe and a very special place in Moyo. Jamie and the Pipeline Worldwide team has had a dream and a vision of building a full campus to serve the surrounding communities and the dream has become a reality.

We arrived at the site and it already felt like home even though it was only an open piece of land. We all witnessed the eyes and smiles of those that have put so many hours into this project as they realized this was truly the beginning as they stepped off the bus. We walked the land and there was talk on which corner would hold our construction sign and our future gate.

After the visit to the land, we stopped by Moyo Mission Health Center 4. We have recently donated a CBC machine to them and they were extremely thankful and eager to show us how it worked and tell us the impact that it has had.

We then returned to the multi purpose hall for a lovely dinner and our familiar discussion where everyone talks of their own personal highlight of the day. For the 12 of us sitting there, our Lonyi Village future home was the top for everyone.

This is my 8th trip here, however, it has been 2 years since my last visit. I knew I missed Uganda and all of the people and sites, but I had no idea how much it was missed. Auntie Becky is thankful she has returned and thank you for welcoming me back to my Ugandan Family, I am truly blessed.


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