By Stuart Bogere
KIU, Main Campus - The first bunch of 28 Ugandans stranded in Brazil, on Friday, departed the Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil on a repatriation flight bound for Entebbe via Addis Ababa.
A second group of 88 passengers were flagged off at the Lester B. Pearson International Airport Toronto by Uganda's High Commissioner to Canada H.E. Joy Ruth Acheng on Friday.
The repatriation flight from USA consisted mainly of a 26-member Watoto Church Choir, Hope Melody Choir, and Sozo Children's Choir. These were on separate tours of the United States when the COVID-19 restrictions forced them to end their activities.
They were very excited to be able to finally return to Uganda. In addition was a mother and baby. Whereas Uganda does not have an Embassy in South America, the region is overseen by Uganda's Embassy in Washington, DC.
The stranded passengers responded to the Embassy's call for registration in May 2020, whereafter plans for their repatriation and route options were put in place by Satguru Travel Solutions.
These passengers arrived at the Entebbe International Airport aboard the Ethiopian Airlines repatriation flight, transiting in Addis Ababa from Ontario, Canada on Saturday night.
Ambassador Acheng says, "these are Ugandan nationals and legal residents who departed Canada, South America and the Caribbean that transited through Addis Ababa and arrived at the Entebbe International Airport on Sunday.
Given the closure of numerous borders in both North and South America due to COVID-19 concerns and visa limitations of several of the affected persons, it was necessary to create multiple departure locations, to ensure that everyone who could do so was afforded an opportunity to return.