First impressions of Uganda

Hello everyone!

I owe you some story as I’ve only told you about the journey to Uganda and nothing about the country itself.

The first day in Kampala, Sunday, was devoted to meeting and socialising with our local counterparts. There are amazing young people; pretty much all of them come from Uganda and study business-related degree.

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In the afternoon we had the first opportunity to discover the city. Team leaders divided us into small groups of 3-4 people to play a scavenger hunt. With a help of our local fellows we were supposed to look for main attractions/places of Kampala. I was allocated in a rather female group along with Cambridge, Joanna,and Saviour:P

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Kampala is a busy, chaotic and diverse place that cannot be compared to any European city. The roads are usually covered by dust or mud (depends on a weather) of the red soil of Uganda.

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As only the major roads have an asphalt surface, you can imagine how dusty it can get here. Some say Uganda has one of the worst infrastructure systems in the world; many pavements have holes of a depth of 1m or more, so you need to watch out the surface unless you want to break or twist your leg. There are no zebra crossings either… I haven’t seen any in the centre. The traffic seems to be difficult but my Ugandan counterparts said they got used to it:).

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Without a doubt, my new discovery of alternative means of transport is Ugandan taxi which, in fact, resembles more of a mini van than a Western type of taxi. The majority of citizens of Kampala commute to work using these colorful taxis. The car in the photo probably belongs to a Catholic owner; others have placards such as ‘Allah akbar’ or ‘Praise the Lord’. By the way, it’s an original way to show your religious identity in public.

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The vans are quite economical (one journey costs an equivalent of 10-20p). However, their main drawback is quality. The taxis can be very crowded during rush hours. They accommodate up to 12 people in 3-4 rows but sometimes a business-minded taxi driver adds more passagers (4 in one row) to make a bigger profit out of one journey…

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Overall, the day was full of activities which helped us to make closer bonds with each other:) It seems to be a really promising group of 23 people; 11 British volunteers, including myself, and 12 Ugandans. I’m looking forward to being a part of this team.

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