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 Sunday 08 November 2009
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Christine Atto: "The journey is difficult, but I walk for my life"
October 2008 (PlusNews)

Photo: Glenna Gordon/IRIN
Once a month, Christine Atto walks 36 kilometres to fetch her medication
GULU, With the return of relative peace to northern Uganda, thousands of people displaced by the conflict have started the long journey home. Many are now living in transit camps between the mother camps and their villages. Christine Atto, who has lived in an IDP camp for over 20 years, told IRIN/PlusNews that since moving to a resettlement camp, she has to walk 36 kilometres every month to fetch her antiretroviral medication.

"I stayed at Parabongo IDP camp in Amuru district for most of my life. I came here to Awoo [Resettlement Camp] just one year ago.

"At Parabongo, I was falling sick, so they told me to test at the health centre. There, they referred me to Lacor [Missionary Hospital in Gulu town]. I learned I was positive in 2006. They also tested my small boy Alfred and he is positive too. He is on septrin [an antibiotic].

Because I enrolled at Lacor, I must go there to collect my medicine on the 11th of every month. I walk 36 kilometres to Gulu town. I prepare some ground-nuts or roasted cassava, and I walk for one night and then sleep at the home of my relative, and then I walk to town the next day.

It's difficult to walk with [four-year-old] Alfred because he is growing, he is heavy. I am very tired when I have reached. The hardest is the placed called Keyo because there are many hills. The journey is difficult, but I walk for my life.

My husband tested this year and he is also positive. He collects his drugs at Lacor on the 30th of every month. He borrows a bicycle and he rides to Lacor, but I don't know how to ride. It takes him only three or four hours to reach Lacor. Sometimes he takes Alfred, but usually it is me who carries Alfred.



[The above testimony is provided by IRIN, a humanitarian news service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.]

IRIN welcomes editorial and photographic submissions for inclusion on this page, reserving the right to select and edit as appropriate.
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