Twelves students of the International School of Training came to stay the week end of Thursday Feb 17 to Monday Feb 21, 2011 at the St Joseph’s Catechists Training Centre CTC of the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu in northern Uganda. The students came over to the CTC with the Rev Fr Dr Bill Komakech who is director.
Friday February 18, to Monday February 21 was a week end holiday for Uganda’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The students who preferred to live by themselves away from their host families in the city and sub-urbs of Gulu planned to study Acholi language and follow on line news about the heart of Africa’s polling exercises. The CTC had an excellent internet connectivity which enabled the students stay in touch with their families in the USA without much anxiety.
The CTC’s chef Daniel Ayela prepared meals described by the students as excellent mix of Italian, Acholi and God knows what else. After dinners the students’ director Dr Bill Komakech invited all to a round sitting in the open air full moon. The director of the CTC Rev Fr. Okumu Joe (Joe) and the Rev Fr Opio John Felix (Felix) who lives with him in the house joined the students and Bill to talk about what they read, saw on TV and heard on local fm radios about the polls. The after dinner talks were interesting as the SIT students asked the priests probing questions and shared their personal feelings about the Ugandan political situation. In the end of all Bill, Joe and Felix realized the students were pretty much privileged to live in and see Ugandan politics in its rural setting a view that gave a well balaced view of Ugandan politics in Kampala some 400 kilometers away in the south and in European and American media.
The 1926 CTC is situated some four kilometers west of Gulu city Municipality on the South Sudan’s city of Juba main road. All the evenings were beautiful with the sun setting like a fire ball and the moon rising at 9.00pm like bride adorned for a wedding. The SIT students could not but stay magnetized at the sight of all. Before the students left the CTC Fr Joe introduced them to an initiative named BOSCOUganda whose aim is to rebuild peace and accelerate development in rural north Uganda through internet connectivity. BOSCO stands for Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach. The connectivity is responsible for bringing Primary Schools classrooms in northern Uganda closer to many others around the world. Initially BOSCOUganda bridged gaps among the internally displaced persons living in over 160 camps in northern Uganda called military protected camps.
The 3 million northern Uganda population were herded into military protected camps to deny rebels opportunity to abduct more children to replenish their fighter ranks.