I am now placed in a vocational college in Layibi, some three or four kilometres to the south of Gulu, Mary is still based in the office in Pece in Gulu itself.
As the rains dry up the murrum surface I have two routes I can take to work.
Along the main Kampala road south
and then turn up via St Joseph’s College to the Institute,
or through the country roads.
Daniel Comboni Vocational Institute is very different to the other institutions we have been working with so far.
It has been here for a long time, set up by the Comboni Missionaries in 1955 and is, essentially a thriving set of production workshops with a training institute attached.
It is huge and has everything from high end joinery and garages through to printing machines and even a terrazzo workshop.
It has, very unusually, its own website:
Daniel Comboni is a name you see throughout Northern Uganda. The man himself was an Italian Roman Catholic missionary (beatified in 1996) and the first Bishop of Central Africa, arriving in Khartoum in the late 1850’s, . His intention to: “Save Africa through Africa”, is still worth thinking about. The Comboni Missionaries have been in Gulu since 1916; they are well established and well thought of.
At the back of this college is a very large and very Italian mission, laid out with shaded walkways, grape vines,
statues and of course; red geraniums. The whole complex is entirely self contained (which is how it survived the troubles) with its own food production etc. I even managed to buy some cheese from their dairy yesterday (dairy products are rare here and much sought after, Ben Gunn like, by westerners). This is a fascinating, if rather unreal, place to work.