ARUA: Whenever Mrs Sarah Amviko, 35 experienced labour pains, she would confine herself at home rather than risk the over five miles trek to Kuluva hospital.
Her movement and that of mothers from Lumara village was hampered because river Ora and Jakiri stream that surround the village virtually cut it off from the rest of Vurra Sub County, making this village of 950 people an island with no access roads and bridges.
Because of this access barrier the village was nicknamed ‘Mundu Caku,’ which means the place where White men do not reach.
“Many of us have ended up delivering at home while other mothers have died on the way to Kuluva Hospital,” the mother of four said.
That barrier was broken on Saturday when Eng Gabriel Aridru, the State Minister for Finance (General Duties) commissioned a culvert bridge on Jakiri stream.
The Culvert Bridge worth shs17m connects the residents of Lumara Village in Ringili Parish to those of Ombavu Village in Anzu Parish, both in Vurra Sub County.
It opens a shorter route to Kuluva hospital, Nyio trading centre and Anzu primary school for the residents and children from Lumara which does not have a primary school at all.
Eng Aridru, also the Vurra County MP funded the construction of the Bridge after the Arua district officials failed to open and access road and build a bridge by claiming lack of funds.
“I’m very happy that we have finally got a Bridge. We have suffered for so long. Our children couldn’t go to school during rainy days besides, it has been difficult for us to quickly access health units whenever we fall sick,” said Mr John Anguyo, one of the residents.
Mr Anguyo explained that the situation is worst when their dear ones die.
“We normally carry the bodies of our relatives on our heads since no vehicle can access our village which is surrounded by water,” Anguyo added.
For Mr Asraf Juma, a metal scrap dealer, the new bridge means that his stalled business will pick up again.
Mr Juma said he halted his business because it had become difficult to cross Jakiri since the onset of the rains.
“I normally buy metal scraps at sh150,000, then I hire young men to push the bicycle for me to cross this river at sh2,000. This place has been flooded most of the time and it was risky to cross,” he said.
Mr James Endriyo, the Lumara Local Council One Chairperson promised to form a village committee which will be tasked to look after the Bridge through routine maintenance.
However, during the commissioning ceremony Mr Aridru encouraged the people to engage in farming and use the Bridge to have access to the markets to improve on their household income.
“Now that the Bridge is here, use it for transporting your food stuff to the market. You now need to work hard to raise enough food which you can eat and sell to improve on your household income,” he advised.
He pledged to support the locals with onion, tomato and cabbage seeds to be planted during this rainy season and mobilize funds to at least upgrade the road from footpath to a motorable road.