Bukwa

St. Joseph's Parish, Bukwa, Tororo Archdiocese, Uganda

                          St. Joseph Parish Church Bukwa

St. Joseph’s Parish Bukwa was opened by the Mill Hill Missionaries in 1956. It is in Tororo Archdiocese in eastern Uganda. The parish territory borders Kenya in the east. The main parish church is only 10 km away from the Kenya-Uganda border. It on the slopes of mt. Elgon which rises up to more that 14,000 ft above sea level. The people are called Sebei. They have affinity to the Pokot and Karenjin in Kenya. The place is known for world class long distance runners. The Sebei are a small tribe often fighting against their neighbours for cows: the Pokot in the east and the Karamajong in the north. Due to their superior armory, the Pokot and Kamajong often carry the day against the Sebei in these cattle rusting conflicts. It is very dangerous to keep cattle in Sebei because you are always a soft target by the marauding Karamajong and Pokot warriors who can not even be checked by the Uganda armed forces (UPDF). The only place the Pokot do not attack is a parish compound because they believe it is a “sacred place.” 

Socially, the Sebei still practice female circumcision or female genital mutilation. Old traditions die hard, despite the government’s efforts to stop it, it is still practiced. Another major problem of the area is transportation.  Transportation to Bukwa is very difficult especially during the rainy season. A distance of 68 km from Kapachorwa, the main town takes at least 3 hours and in the rain season, you have to be prepared to sleep on the way. It is often said that it is easier to go to heaven than to go to Bukwa on a rainy day. There also environment degradation, many trees have been cut. This has led to soil erosion.  

The Spiritans accepted the invitation by the former Archbishop of Tororo, James Odong to do pastoral ministry at Bukwa Parish in 2003. The Mill Hill Missionaries had provided it with the basic structures of a mission parish: a church, presbytery, primary school and a health center. Fr. Kerebba Nicholas, a Ugandan and Vincent Makokha a Kenyan did pastoral ministry in this parish as parish priest and assistant parish priest respectively and saw the development of St. Joseph Girls Secondary school before the Spiritans pulled out of the parish in July 2006.


                St. Joseph, Girl's School, Bukwa
 The Spiritans accepted the invitation by the former Archbishop of Tororo, James Odong to do pastoral ministry at Bukwa Parish in 2003. The Mill Hill Missionaries had provided it with the basic structures of a mission parish: a church, presbytery, primary school and a health center. Fr. Kerebba Nicholas, a Ugandan and Vincent Makokha a Kenyan did pastoral ministry in this parish as parish priest and assistant parish priest respectively and saw the development of St. Joseph Girls Secondary school before the Spiritans pulled out of the parish in July 2006
 St. Joseph Girls is the best school in the area with more than 400 students most of whom come from Kenya. St. Joseph primary school has more than 900 students. The Spiritans are planning to go back to this parish because the people there are poor and marginalized which is a charism of the Spiritan Congregation. The Sebei are neglected people by the government and need a lot of support.
 
                     St. Joseph Primary School - 900 Pupils