visiting lobanya

this past saturday, (which was now last saturday not the one we just had) in what can only be described as  true ‘green-hipster’ fashion, i took a community-group day-trip to a local garden. (i know, right?) however this experience was Truly Ugandan in many ways: housemate and i did not know if we were going or not until we were in the vehicle–packed like sardines in the back of a land-cruiser–we had no idea geographically where we were going–never having been to lobanya neither of us knew if we were headed north, east, south or west–and we had no idea when we would be home (we were even prepared to sleep in the bush if we got stuck).

as is my habit, i did not fret about these things, but sat where i was told to sit and literally went along for the ride–waiting to be told what to do next.

rather than tell you all about it, i shall show you a bit about my fantastic day-trip to the gardens of mama (rose), mercy, mary’s gardens and the up-and-coming village of lobanya. lets go!

"local transport"

along the way we found these  cows pulling this grainy along the road. even the karimajong in the car said they’d never seen this sort of “local transport.”

bishop james

bishop james taking photos out of the front of the vehicle.


our driver, israel. who did an awesome  job  driving .

sola bishop

we got very stuck in the mud and bishop was the only one with enough…optimism to try to push the car. we still didn’t budge. this issue was semi-rectified as we all climbed out and left israel to struggle with the car while we walked the rest of the way to the garden.


the very stuck vehicle and passers-by considering helping , helped for a moment, then continued on along their way.


mama rose’s onion garden!


mama mercy with some of mama rose’s onion leaves. apparently pruning the leaves away from the onion makes the onions bigger. it also makes for a tasty addition to whatever one is having for lunch. also, mercy is awesome.

bishop and mama rose discussing our plans for the afternoon. (these consisted of a walk through jean-mark’s garden, a “tour” of the village (basically just wandering through) and then lunch back at mama’s place before heading back to kotido.

at mercy and mark’s place we found the sourghum (left) and green grams (right) drying on different siesel sacks. i found the color contrast stunning.

perhaps the longest thorn i have ever seen, even more beautiful against a beautiful karamoja afternoon sky.

a woman, whose name i never learned, finishing up the preperations for our lunch. she was mingling (mixing) the atap (a sticky bread made of sorghum flour sometimes mixed with cassava flour.) we ate it with beans, greens (pasted bor) and tasty chicken.

fresh. honey. so. amazingly. delicious.
i chewed on this honeycomb until only the wax was left.
housemate and i learned that there is a bird in the bush that will practically tell you to follow it through the bush–singing and flapping at you until you follow it. it leaps from branch to branch, tree to tree leading you to one of the following things: 1) an enemy or 2) fresh honey. so, when following this bird one is taking a leap of faith and generally moves with caution. but if you tasted this honey, you’d know why people take the risk!


a bouquet of wild flowers i collected and arranged. its dried now and waiting to be pressed in a book of my choosing. a little wilted, but full of happy memories of a truly lovely afternoon.


a view of mama’s lobanya home from the open-air hut we lounged in, ate lunch in, and i may have taken a small nap in. i hope to camp here sometime next month!

this last shot of this tour was taken by housemate, this pumpkin is from mercy’s garden (we also had one from mama’s garden),  i’m eating maize from someone’s garden roasted over someone’s fire (one of my favorite snacks…i was eating it even though i  was totally full-to-the-brim on atap, posho, beans, pasted bor and chicken). we were packed back in the vehicle ready to head back to kotido!

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