Pallisa, Uganda
Pallisa, Uganda.

Pallisa, Uganda

Beverly goes to Pallisa, Uganda... known for the woman forced to breast feed dogs.

By Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
more from author >>
First published: December 20, 2010


Welcome to PallisaI am wary of the stereotype poor hot flat land historically tainted by floods and of course, the story of the woman who was forced to breastfeed dogs by her husband. I try to keep an open mind as we pass the sign that says Finance Trust welcomes you to Pallisa. I ignore the stares of children running after our super custom. I even pretend that I see other cars on the road and not women and men riding on bicycles and many barefooted. When we arrive at Country Inn, that is when I have to admit that Pallisa is not your Paris.



Pallisa Children
Pallisa Children

About three hours East from Kampala, after Iganga, Pallisa is not a common destination and as you will have it, I was there for work. There is a presence of civil society organizations there whose work can be felt in the main town. With over ten sub-counties, Pallisa people speak both Lugwere and Atesot and a large number especially in the town; speak English as well.

Papers in Palissa
Papers in Palissa

It is excruciatingly hot and green as well. It is an oxymoron of climate. There has been an obvious pattern of rain and yet an overt reminder of heat and dust. Truthfully speaking, I cannot say whether Pallisa is distinct for this or that. The district leaders and police I interacted with are jovial, serious about their business and aware of their many limitations, like many Ugandans who laugh in the bitterest of times, acknowledge their pain and enjoy a good hearty meal with friends. Country Inn takes over an hour to bring us a meal. This will not have gone down badly for us if the meal was rich with traditional Pallisa food which brings me to another point; the super Pallisa rice from the swamps that sweep the bendy roads-nada. We are treated to chicken, chips, rice, beef, eeeeh! Why do I leave Kampala to Pallisa for chips. This is one of the reasons we return with kilos and kilos of Pallisa Super rice.

Country Inn, PallisaCountry Inn is my own equivalent of the Sheraton of Pallisa. It is a very large complex with a huge garden and a sizeable comfortable reception and DSTV. It is right next to the District headquarters office and other civil society organizations. Pallisa is a small town and pleasant place to walk because of the lack of presence of cars. The roads that I walk on are large enough. Bicycles are in plenty being a common and convenient mode of transport. It is a town that offers services like any other with an All Saints Parish, a super market, tailors, schools and guest houses. The children speak very confident English and like many primary children in Kampala, heed to their teachers’ commands without a word or sniffle. However, when the teacher is out of shot, their playfulness darts about. Given its lack of breathtaking landscape or highland, Pallisa is not a tourist destination. One must therefore, take a keener interest and visit the sub-counties and interact with the community. Every community has its special niche, its spark, its flavor. The community in Pallisa is such.

The district leaders remind me of the woman who, last year, was reported to have been forced to breastfeed her husband’s puppies by her very husband. The intervention of civil societies saw her set free but today she lives without a real source of income alone with her children. Such are the anomalies that face us across the rural-urban divide. For some reason, when poorer people are affected, the problem appears more severe because they usually do not have the resources for seeking justice or alternative livelihood that would liberate them albeit temporarily.

The highlight of my visit to Pallisa is my encounter with Hope, a budding female poet. I invite her the next week to Kampala or a poetry workshop. She is the reason I will return to Pallisa with more poets. I was unable toffee the pulse of the place with my first visit but maybe when I visit more poets next year, I will be able to feel the town’s heartbeat.

Read More

The Bagwere of Pallisa

Funerals Among the Bagwere

By Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
more from author >>
First published: December 20, 2010

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva has a baby girl called Zion Agasaro and together with her husband, tries to make each day another reason to excel. Writing has been her passion from childhood. For her first degree, her desire was to study Creative Writing which was not available at Makerere University in Kampala and so opted for Bachelor of Arts in Education majoring in Literature in English. After that, she did two certificates in French from Alliance Francaise in Kampala.

Beverley currently serves on the executive board of Uganda Women Writers' Association (FEMRITE) and also works at EASSI, an Eastern African regional organization that focuses on women's rights.

She has a collection of Travel poetry and erotic poetry and is interested in the short story genre as well. Her fist novel is expected to be out in 2010.

As we collect more articles from Beverly, for now if you wish to read more from Beverley go to her blog: The Exodus of Whatever.