When Gus Zuehlke (BOSCO-USA founder) first traveled to Gulu, he struck up a close friendship with a lay catechist named Godfrey Alanya, from a small village northwest of Gulu called Pagak. Though Godfrey passed in 2005, the relationship he and Gus kindled in Pagak has borne fruit there ever since. Pagak became one of the first BOSCO sites in 2007. By 2010, Godrey’s good friend Jokondino Okema attended a workshop on educational uses of GIS mapping, and took that technology to heart. Drawn from middle school students in his classes, Jokondino’s team mapped water sources and plant locations in the area north of Gulu, collaborating with a US-based educator and her students from Lead, South Dakota.
After those projects sunset due to job changes, Jokondino began to interview entrepreneurs in the marketplace—more than 90 of them—to provide background for survey and mapping data of Gulu businesses that BOSCO was collecting with economists from Notre Dame and with funding from Accenture.
More recently, Jokondino began to prepare the way for a different kind of effort, the Acholi Collective History OnLIne (ACHOLI) Project. This one would put younger Acholi in contact with their elders to gather their recollections of tribal and family history. To prepare for this, Jokindino has interviewed 100 elders and recorded their family trees.
He has also started a Young Writers Club in Pagak. The aim of the club is to:
- Improve on their writing skills
- Learn Acholi culture and traditions from the elders and anyone else able to give informed and relevant information.
- Share knowledge with other youths within the club and those outside the club.
- Collaborate with other youth.
- Attract the attention of people who might want to help them in their writing career.