Friday, December 19, 2014

Returning to a changed Uganda

Arriving  in Uganda, returning to the red volcanic dust, has been an experience. I last visited 5 years ago and much has changed. Kampala has risen higher and there seems to be a lot more people living or commuting to and from the city.  Large buildings have been built and some places are unrecognisable. There are still a number of bars and clubs in the town and its all harder to get to because of the human traffic. Life is a lot more expensive too. A banana was once 100 shillings is now 300. A meal is double the price to 5 years ago and accounting for inflation, the cost of living has increased. Transport from Ndejje village to Kampala is now 1000 shillings from 500. That is where I am staying, with the manager of Mzuribeads Uganda. Water is an expensive finite resource as the taps are attached to meters and bills must be paid. Work is still very hard to come by and the struggle to get by continues on a daily basis. The president Museveni who has ruled for decades is standing yet again for election in 2015. Corruption and brute force keeps the opposition at bay and as like usual, it's the people that suffer. No doubt that there is more of a middle class but the gulf between rich and poor has widened. Globalisation and monopolies make sure living and working conditions get harder.With no social health care, many suffer with out care. 

Ndejje is close to a main road linking Kampala and Entebbe. The dust from the road is enough to overwhelm your throat and lungs and with matatus and bodas using the pavements, it's hard to get around. The government has not helped the communication or power links and it hinders most people trying to run shops and businesses around.

The people however are still extremely welcoming and well humoured. It is very relaxing to sit with happy children and families going about their daily lives. Neighbours greet you and help you out if you are lost.

It is a great effort by a community to keep the area safe. Families must dispose of their own rubbish and create systems to keep their house and living area clean. 

People need to fend for themselves here and Ndejje has a strong sense of community and well being.

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1 comment:

  1. great to read the story of being in Uganda and get a sense of the community! Thank you for sharing!