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Kanungu Pilgrims Recount 13-Day Journey to Namugongo

Pilgrims from Kanungu district, who are among the first to arrive at Namugongo this week, have recounted their 13-day-journey, sharing stories of faith, perseverance and dedication. The pilgrims, comprising of 17 men and 30 women, walked the 450km journey to attend this years Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations. The journey started at 3am on May 16 at Makiro Deanery in Kanungu town council and climaxed at 7pm on Monday, May 30 at Namungongo Shrine.
A section of the Kanungu pilgrims at Namugongo

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Pilgrims from Kanungu district, who are among the first to arrive at Namugongo this week, have recounted their 13-day-journey, sharing stories of faith, perseverance and dedication.

The pilgrims, comprising of 17 men and 30 women, walked the 450km journey to attend this year's Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations.

The journey started at 3am on May 16 at Makiro Deanery in Kanungu town council and climaxed at 7pm on Monday, May 30 at Namungongo Shrine.  

Vastina Turyatunga, one of the pilgrims from Makiro says she prayed for strength and courage to arrive in Kampala safe. She also prepared money for food during the journey.

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Cue out:...omwanya ogutwatambula."//

This is the fifth time Turyatunga has made the pilgrimage to Namungongo for Uganda Martyrs Day celebration. Twice she boarded a vehicle before starting to walk saying she drew courage and inspiration from the martyrs.

“I decided to start walking because of Uganda martyrs who gave their lives for our faith. I said to myself, let me also walk from Kanungu to Namungongo following what the martyrs did,” she says.

Priscilla Katebe says she is one of the two pilgrims who started this walking movement from Kanungu to Namugongo in 2012. They started when banana bacteria wilt was ravaging plantations in the district. She says she started walking to pray for the farmers who were affected by the wilt disease.

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Katebe says she's ready to continue walking from Kanungu to Namugongo every year. “When you start walking, you even forget that there are cars,” she says.

Ndungutse Ivan, aged 18 is the youngest of the Kanungu pilgrims. He says he has always loved God but also wanted to come and see Kampala.

“Kampala is a good city. We were told stories about Kampala by people who had visited it and that's how I got a desire to come and see Kampala,” he says. 

Ndungutse says he was anxious in the initial stages of the journey but he eventually gained the courage to keep going. My feet got swollen on the way, got healed but after I became stronger and stronger.”

He says praying, worshipping and singing during the walk gave him courage and strength to successfully accomplish the pilgrimage. Like his friends, he expects to come back next year.

June 3rd was declared Uganda Martyrs Day in honour of 45 Christian converts who were burnt to death on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda between 1885 and 1887, for converting to Christianity.

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