Uganda the country. I don't know the writer but love the story


S. Kaboggoza

What is it like living in Uganda? :uganda:

Well, am going to give you outlines, i want you to use those to paint your own picture of Uganda.

Introduction
We are a country of 43 million people (as of 2018) found in the eastern part of Africa. We are land-locked. We were colonized by Britain from around 1870 to 1962 on October 9th. We have over 50 tribes and over 56 languages, though the big 3 tribes cover about 50% of the population…The biggest tribe is Baganda and they speak Luganda. These occupy the central part of the country including the capital, Kampala. The Baganda culture, their language (Luganda) certainly forms the face of Uganda to foreigners. We are generally regarded as a hospitable country mainly because of the Baganda’s hospitality culture.

If you try to go beyond the central, you will find other unique and beautiful cultures. You will be surprised by how culturally diverse Uganda is. The west and south are unique, east is also different, north east is different, north west is different and north its self is different. Regions differ not only in culture but also in weather and terrain.

We eat fresh stuff almost all the time. Fresh fruits, food, meat, etc. Markets are everywhere. People go every after a few days to buy fresh supplies. I have eaten refrigerated meat only about twice in my life.

Culture and Social Life
We work longer hours! Its normal for an educated Ugandan to work from 8AM to 7PM and they will rarely complain. We leave work normally when work is done. Most businesses, shops, supermarkets are open from 8 to 10PM and they don’t have shifts. The same people who started at 8 will be there at 10PM.

We buy things. Cash or cheque but there are no credit sales here. If you have a car, its your car. We have very few mortgages. You buy land, you build your house, and there are no wooden houses here. Never seen one. Houses are built with bricks, sand, stones, concrete. If there is a percentage of people getting things and paying them in installments, it should be 0.1%. I have personally never seen anyone with a mortgage, and i live in the city in circles of educated working class… No mortgages.

We party! I think we party a lot. Dusk till dawn. People really party in Uganda. I have been to neighboring Kenya and Rwanda but Uganda is different. We party more. All sorts of classes and all sorts of music, there is palace for everyone. Local, East African, West African, Jamaican, Western each has a place in the Ugandan nightlife.

People find immoral acts more concerning than illegal acts, unless they are illegal and immoral. Illegally connecting yourself on an electricity or water grid will be overlooked by neighbors for years, even decades, just remember to greet them when you pass them. If you slaughtered your cat or dog and ate it, you will be dragged to police. NOTE: we don’t have special beliefs in dogs or cats, people just find it disgusting and weird that someone would eat a cat. That’s how much immoral things get you into trouble here.
An illegal Chinese immigrant was tolerated for months until he SAID that he eats dogs! They dragged him to police.

An average Ugandan mother would see a 17-year-old with a beer (its illegal) and not feel so concerned but will be much more concerned with a 19-year-old boy or girl and especially a girl dating a 30 or 40-year-old partner, yet that is totally legal. The gay don’t even stand a chance. An overwhelming majority is homophobic here. An attack against a gay couple is unlikely but they would certainly despise you.

Marriage and relationships
A man and a woman who live together are generally referred to as husband and wife, even if they are not legally married. People will mostly describe it as an “unholy marriage”, literally! The words “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” are almost NEVER used on people who live together. Seriously. Living together mostly means marriage. The normal real legal marriages also exist. Weddings are everywhere. We still get married (wed) but domestic partnerships are rampant.

People RARELY DIVORCE back here. Its very very hard to see (legally) divorced people here. When marriages fail, most of the time people will part ways and they won’t legally divorce and both of them most of the time wont mind, except highly educated or very religious people. Here, its like if you fail with your partner, you both don’t care whether the papers still say you two are married. Every one will just walk. Wives normally show up at their (legal) husbands’ funerals when they separated ten or twenty years ago but never legally divorced and both remarried without any issues. Its very normal.

Foreigners
We don’t care! A Ugandan, educated or not, will never worry about a foreigner, unless they do something immoral or illegal. We just generally don’t care. If you are here and you behave yourself, you will be here, even without papers. DO NOT COME WITHOUT PAPERS, THOUGH!

People here are generally hospitable and always excited about foreigners. Soon as you settle in, they want to take you places. for fair and light-skinned people, the hospitality is twice. The perception is that light skinned people come far from here so they should be shown more hospitality. If i have a visitor from Kenya (black or not) and another one from Denmark (white or not), the Uganda way is to give more care to the one from Denmark, they have come a longer way. Its not because of color.

For refugees, we have absorbed refugees from all countries around us and they never go back, and we don’t care. We never discriminate. Over 1.2 million South Sudanees now in camps. Congolese, Burundians, Rwandans became citizens who came in the 50s and 60s. We have a total of 1.4 million refugees. The second highest in the whole world, only after Turkey. People do not discriminate here.

Weather and Nature
We have two rain seasons, March-April and August-September. But the sun still shines during the rain seasons. It is impossible for a week to pass by without a sunny day. Sometimes it shines and rains at the same time. So beautiful. Our summers (January and July) are hot but there are still some rains. We find the western Winter, Summer, etc amazing! Snow for months!!! Those stories we hear from westerners or watch in the movies surprise us.

If you like to tour, we’ve got beautiful rare and exclusive Flora and Fauna! We have got birds, Gorillas, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, plains. For tourism you can rest assured this country has got a lot to show to visitors (not the infrastructure, though). Some visitors went as far as naming us the PEARL OF AFRICA.

Almost all the water is fresh. Victoria, The Nile, Katonga, all the water is fresh. Except Lake Albert in north western Uganda. However, the water that is pumped on the national grid is not safe for drinking, we have to boil it first. Funny!
Transport is cheap. An airport taxi from Kampala City to Entebbe Airport (33KM) is between $25 to $40 depending on the company. And we have Uber too. You could go from any part of Kampala to any part of Kampala for less than $25.
We have boda boda! These are commercial motorcycles. Very fast, reliable, cheap, unsafe sometimes but very convenient. They are in every inch of the city.

Edit: Lately we have Boda Bodas you order on Apps. SafeBoda, Uber Boda, Taxify and others. Just install any of those apps and start enjoying even cheaper Boda rides. These are also much safer.

We drive on the left! You have been warned. An overwhelming majority of cars here are bought second hand, mostly from Japan. But brand new rides are also sold here. Nisan, Jeep, Mercedes, Toyota, Kia, etc have dealerships in Kampala. You wont get a super car, though.
Parking in the city center is around $0.6 an hour. Gas is at its all-time high currently at approx $1.1 and Diesel at $0.9.

We do not know COPYRIGHT!
Movies, Music, Software etc. are pirated in broad day light. Its crazy here. Its like a culture. People do it like a normal thing. No one condemns it. We have a big performing arts industry but it also failed to curb piracy. In fact, piracy is the backbone of this industry. Musicians and actors literally invite their fans to download their music and movies for free! Its so crazy that even if you came from a country where piracy is a crime and you wanted to legally buy Ugandan music, you wont find any store! There are some modern artists selling on iTunes and those other digital platforms but guess what, after uploading songs on iTunes for sale, they give away the same songs for free in Uganda. Its the only way they can stay in business. Basically artists are all about performances. Music sales bring in nothing.
For software, God save us. Everyone thinks you just need a flash and a few bucks and you get any software. Even companies, apart from a few corporate ones. The saddest thing is, as i said earlier, people find it normal. No one thinks that you need to pay Adobe some money to use Photoshop, Illustrator or anything. Or pay Microsoft for Windows or Office. It s insane. Am in IT myself but i must confess, this country with copyright, its like a non existent term. Dont even get me started with MOVIES!

Governance
We are relatively corrupt, i have to admit. I think we are really corrupt! So corrupt that it was almost becoming normal for someone to prepare cash (bribe) as soon as a cop (traffic) stops you . You PAY them and they will let you go without a question. No license, no registration, no question about the condition of the vehicle. Corruption goes up to high levels of government. You have seen ministers arrested for corruption…. This is a problem. We are working on it but you have to know.

Healthcare
Public healthcare is poor! Its partly free but unreliable. However, the private hospitals offer much better services and are cheap. People who come from other countries find our hospitals very affordable (read cheap). A normal delivery will be billed at around UGX 1.5M ($400) in posh hospitals. That is insane to ordinary Ugandans but average foreigners find it surprisingly low, even our Kenyan neighbors. In a non posh environment, a working class mother would be delivered for UGX 500K ($140). Healthcare is generally cheap.

We have a couple of diseases too. HIV is between 9 and 12% as of 2014. Malaria kills many infants. Ebola has attacked us before but we have defeated it - thrice. We don’t have the best healthcare system you can find but we fight. In fact we have had the best Ebola containment systems in Africa and the most experienced doctors at Ebola. Sierra Leone might have the best Ebola containment mechanism now, after the recent outbreak but our doctors are very well-respected in outbreaks and many are consultants with the World Health Organization.

Education
Education levels are still alarmingly low, though we have put a lot of energy on this in the last 20 years… Its beginning to pay off.
Ugandans speak English and they speak it well, compared to other non English people or countries. Many studies rank Ugandans as the best English speakers in Africa.
Surprisingly, people are relatively well-informed, given the low levels of education. An ordinary Uganda in the villages has an average of 7 school years but knows about the US, UK, Russia, Iran, North Korea (and South), Bush, Putin, Trump, Clinton, Saddam, EU, Nuclear, Microsoft, Bill Gates, Usain Bolt, Roger Federa, Serena Williams, Michael Jackson, Arsenal, UN, Mugabe, Brazil, iPhone, NOKIA, Samsung, Facebook, Aljazeera, BBC, Akon, FIFA etc. Oh! I almost forgot China!
The one thing most Ugandans don’t know or use is insurance! Very few people insure things or themselves back here. Even those who are required (mostly by law) to insure things, especially cars, rarely claim when accidents occur. When you knock someone’s car, the first thing is to trade insults, then negotiate on the payments depending on who was in the wrong. Very few call their insurance after an accident.

Idd Amin Dada
He wasn’t exactly the way you might have heard, especially if you are from the Western world. The number of his victims was shamelessly exaggerated. Don’t be surprised if you find him on people’s cars in the city in large posters.

Religion
We have Christians (83%), Muslims(15%), Traditionalists, etc, People are generally tolerant. I can say there is no extremism. Christians and Muslims just get along fine. Hindus are also worshiping in peace. Anyplace you go to, you will find a church and/or a mosque.
We don’t work on Sunday. On Saturday, most people will work half day.

I find Uganda hospitable, peaceful, lovely, free and fun.:ballot_box_with_check::uganda: