Have been amazing! I love being back in Africa and I am so happy I got the chance to get to know this beautiful country and its lovely people. We’ve only been here for 4 days, but it feels like 4 weeks. Again a cliché, but so true. When we arrived in our guesthouse in Entebbe it was quite late already and we couldn’t really see the surroundings, but the smell of the red soil and the trees was just as I remembered from before. The next morning, we had breakfast next to the pond, with monkeys flying from tree to tree and playing with each other, the beautiful birds in the water and the exotic plants and flowers all around, made me realize I was definitely in another world. Such a great feeling to travel again and to explore a new country.
We decided to go for a walk to the main road and the shopping mall to get ourselves a local sim card. This was so nice! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I know from some people back home that they think the kids are always saying hello, because they hope they will get something from you as a foreigner, but that’s definitely not the case! They are just really excited to see mzungu – the local term for Europeans and Americans – but the moment you say hi, they continue playing or helping their parents. Compared to other countries I’ve been before, I noticed that seriously no one asked for money or bagged on the streets. Also when a boda driver asks you to drive you somewhere and you say ‘no thanks’ just once, they leave you alone and continue their ways. Very relaxed and respectful!
Later that day, we had a transfer to Jinja. The road from Entebbe to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, was under construction since they are building a new highway all the way from Entebbe to Kenya, passing Kampala and Jinja. One part is done already and it was amazing how well maintained this road was, I can’t imagine being like this all the way to Kenya, what a great development for the country! However, all constructions are done by Chinese companies and the ridiculous thing about this, is that they bring all their own employees to Africa, so it does not create extra employment for local people… weird developments going on worldwide!
Since we had to pass Kampala, we were of course stuck in traffic, but it was a nice way to see more of the daily life. Our driver decided to take a short cut, which took us through the outskirts of the city and smaller villages along the way. Once we left the more urban area behind, the landscape became very green, with lots of forests, tea plantations and all other types of fruits and veggies planted on the hills. It was way greener than I expected, even though I knew Uganda was a very green and fertile country, with lake Victoria and the source of the Nile.
The next morning we decided to go for a walk around Jinja, to see what the town is like and to get a better idea of vibe and activities going on. The very nice thing is that it felt like I had been there for a longer time already and that it felt so normal to walk around there. The town, has a relaxed vibe and is not so crowded as you would expect from an African city. The majority of the activities are all around Main Street, which is one street with many small shops, selling stuff from dresses to second hand MacBook’s to the newspaper and toothpaste. There are of course many trading markets around town, where they sell fruits, vegetables, shoes, clothes and everything you need. These are however a bit more the slumps, where the average income is definitely lower than in other parts of the city.
These first few days have been very nice and we got to know the area a bit more. We did volunteer during the local triathlon organized by BikeVentures, enjoyed beers with a beautiful view over the Nile, joined a bike tour ourselves, learned more about the local culture and its people. This week we will be involved in improving the marketing activities of a local social enterprise and at the same time keep looking for business opportunities by talking to many people and learning more about the local communities! So excited for what’s coming!