Deep eyes look at us curiously. The feed are bare, the babies loud, the voices shy and soft, the smell deep and intense.
It’s in the middle of the night, I can smell Africa, sweet and intense.
The passport and fifty dollars in my hand, it’s three o’clock in the morning. A smiling humming employee is there for my visa. Welcome in Uganda!
In Kampala the traffic is frenetic, many are the voices, at any hour of the day. The city is never sleeping. I wake up during the night, the dogs are barking, the people are speaking, it might be four o’clock in the morning. I can feel the life.
On our road to Karamoja, the Land Cruiser is stuffed with bags, medicines, food, throws, cloths. 500 kilometres, an 11 hour drive: it’s our turn. On the street people walk barefoot, calm and patient, children in school uniforms, mummies carrying their children on their back, women with water canisters on their head. They are our mates during the whole trip.
I fell asleep. It’s the last kilometres on asphalt. There, the beginning of the end! The car gives a huge shake, the marra, the red African soil, is under our wheels. Fred - the driver - is tireless. The car goes on shaking, lots of red dust on our faces through the open windows, the sun is hot, the noise deafening and there is lots and lots to see.
At our arrival my head is bumping, my legs shaking. We did it: we arrived to Karamoja, the land of the warriors.
It’s early in the morning. Life is calling, intense and filled. We leave for Kotido hospital. In the court we dive into a sea of colors. They might be hundreds, women and children wrapped into colored fabrics! Deep eyes look at us curiously. The feed are bare, the babies loud, the voices shy and soft, the smell deep and intense. My knees are shaking. They are all here for the vaccination of the newborn, some corn wheat and palm oil in return.
The last day in Karamoja. With Alessandro we are entering the Musas Valley. A small narrow path. Corn plants as high as over my head. Here in the jungle I would go on for hours. I can feel it, the essence of life. We are all wheat, the air is humid and hot, the rhythm fast. Silence and nature, it’s only the two of us. We want to go up high.
And we reach our goal. They are there waiting for us in their village on 2.000 meters above see level: the Tepez, the Karimojong of the mountain. Machete in their hands, bare feet, deep eyes, a breathtaking view, the wild nature. The Tepez grow corn for their surviving, water is not missing at these heights. I would like to stop time. I feel a little Tepez myself, as in the end we Ladins are somehow a mountain “tribe” too.