Interviews with ICS volunteers – Kampala Communication Committee Post

First impressions after the introductory week


Since I’m a member of the Communication Committee (our whole team is divided into several committees that organise our stay here), I have a pleasure to publish some first impressions of the people that share the ICS experience here;) This is a fruit of interviews and hard typing without having a decent Internet connection (it’s easy to say this being in a café with wifi right now:P).

1. What were your expectations about the programme and how have they been met so far?

Rebecca, a British volunteer:

I anticipated that the weather would be hot, the people friendly and welcoming, and the city vibrant and buzzing with the Ugandans, business and traffic. I felt unprepared for the development and deprivation of the city would appear. Apart from the weather (which has been sunny, wet and warm), my expectations of the people and place were largely accurate. Taking into account some observation from the shops scattered along the Entebbe Road and the surroundings of our hostel, I must say that the living conditions in Kampala are extremely limited.

Jacob, a Ugandan volunteer:

One of my expectations was to meet new people and making new friends. Yes, indeed, this expectation was fulfilled. I’ve met and made new exciting friends.

Sara, a UK volunteer:

I didn’t have any expectations, but I’m positively surprised by the friendliness of the Ugandan volunteers. I didn’t know what food was going to be like, but I found it really delicious, especially the matoke! I was impressed by how Ugandans can use bananas in, literally, every dish.

Others said:

I didn’t have any real expectation, but, if I had one, it would be fulfilled anyway. What a fantastic place! Uganda has a great community and a good atmosphere in which I feel comfortable.

I actually had little expectations. I just learned as I came here. So far it has been a great journey.

2. Describe briefly your first impression of Kampala, please.

These are the most common answers which mainly touch upon the chaos of the city, weather, and food.

  • lively, friendly, colorful;
  • chaotic, Christian and colorful;
  • perfect, exciting, interesting;
  • tropical, warm, chaotic;
  • vibrant, thunderstormy, exciting;
  • busy, metoke, carbs;)

3. What was your first impression of the Ugandan counterparts?

They are incredibly friendly, very warm and hard working. Maybe a bit outspoken…

I feel excited to make it my home.

Lively, friendly and welcoming.

4. What was your first impression of the British counterparts?

They are interesting and sociable with a desire to share knowledge and experience, and a willingness to learn from the Ugandan counterparts.

They are really welcoming, cooperative and social.

There are lovely! I get on well with most of them which is really cool.

UK counterparts are very social people. They are willing to learn more and are very active.

5. What was the most crucial skills you learnt in the first week you will use in the business placement?

Florence, a Ugandan volunteer:

I learnt a lot about marketing and sales. It’s important to know the marketing cycle which is based on recognizing the customer’s profile such as their demographics, behaviour, needs and a name.

Jacob, a Ugandan volunteer:

I learnt how to design a business plan and assess any business, especially on its strengths and weaknesses. I also learnt how to come up with tangible solutions coming from the people in the business. Because, in fact, there are some people who have the solutions but they lack trust of belief to implement the solutions.

Others noticed:

I learnt crucial skills about marketing and sales that can be, hopefully, valuable to my business.

I learnt how to prepare a business plan and sort out the finance.

I gained skills in finance, especially in analysing income statements and balance sheets.

Definitely communication skills!

I developed my communication skills. I also learnt how to be more patient, flexible and adaptable.