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Saturday, July 3, 2021

Recent Stuff

A few weeks ago we (fellow MAF pilot Andrew and I) landed at Amudat airstrip for the first time in a very long time (below).

Over the past year and a half quite a few of the upcountry airstrips in Uganda (especially in Karamoja) deteriorated so badly that we had to stop using them. There were several contributing factors, mostly related to the Covid lockdown and lack of flying for so long, but also due to various organizations and users  being short of staff and funding. The next two photos show the Amudat runway from the air (from both directions) during the time that it was closed. It actually got quite a bit worse than this later on, as these were taken soon after it was closed.

Our sending church in Oregon gave a very generous gift to help facilitate the reopening of several of the closed airstrips. MAF sent a work team to oversee the project in Amudat. Here is a photo of the cleaned/repaired/improved airstrip, just before we landed there a few weeks ago.

Here's a shot of Andrew and I with the MAF guys that oversaw the project. They also hired many locals to help with the work (which was also a great way to help the people during these very difficult times when it is SO hard for them to find a source of income), and purchased some tools that will be used for continued upkeep of the strip.

Anytime a plane lands, especially after it's been a long time, people will seemingly suddenly appear out of nowhere to watch. This time was no exception.

Here's some random shots from the air that I've taken in the past month or so. This first one captures sort of the classic northern Karamoja.

This is the very point where the Nile leaves Uganda and enters South Sudan. In this photo the water is flowing from the lower left corner to the bend on the right, and then continuing up towards the upper left corner, on its way South to North. The brown (left) side of the river is South Sudan, and the green (right) side of the photo is Uganda. Just behind/beyond the bend is the town of Nimule, South Sudan. It might strike you as odd that the brown and green are so distinct. It is not always like that. And it's certainly not normally that abrupt of a change between the two countries. It's true that parts of South Sudan can be much dryer than Uganda, but in this region it is generally a much more gradual transition. The reason it's like this here, in this photo, is because the Uganda side is very flat and swampy, hence the greenery, whereas the South Sudan side is the higher ground, and thus dryer, when this photo was taken. But for much of the year both sides are equally green.

Speaking of green, this was a very odd (algae?) green floating mass of something that was on top of the Lake Victoria water for several weeks, not far from the shore. I have no idea exactly what it was, or what caused it, but it was almost an iridescent green. It's gone now.