First and foremost, you can never be fully prepared as to what Uganda or any foreign, African country is going to be like. You can listen to stories, watch news videos and adverts but ultimately there is only so much preparation you can do. This blog is about my first few days and impressions, but if you are lucky enough to get to visit, you can see for yourself. Just like you see everywhere, there are rural areas, busy towns and cities, more modern areas and some areas that are not yet as built up. The first day we arrived we were taken to the local markets. Never in my life had I seen so much variety of fruit and vegetables in one place and for such a fantastic price too! There were so many vibrant foods to choose from being sold by equally as vibrant businessmen/women. There is always a supermarket or market in the vicinity and not too far of a walk. (The odd time we find ourselves without a lift).
Admittedly outside the towns, the roads are massively bumpy with many potholes, but we have seen road maintenance people trying to rectify this. But no joke for the journey to Kasese from Kampala, ladies I would recommend a very good sports bra.
Undeniably the Ugandan people are very welcoming and accommodating. Firstly, the Sister’s we are staying with are so welcoming and willing to help and cater to our needs, not to mention utterly hilarious. Then our supervisor Jostas, there isn’t anything that is too much for him. But everywhere we go, walk, and every new person we meet are always asking how we are, welcoming us to Kasese, and we are always met with a greeting or a handshake. I have to admit I was not used to this custom initially as it is not often the case in England.
To my surprise, as we were driving to Kasese from the airport, which did take 8 hours instead of 6, I noticed how there was so much greenery here, it was beautiful. Also, the soil here, unlike the United Kingdoms brown/black soil, is a rusty red colour which I found fascinating. When I first arrived I was not sure what the food would be like, surprisingly in pretty much all food places you go, there are the English meals we are used to. However, the sisters did prepare us supper where we tried lots of their staple foods. Everything I have tried so far has been amazing. You will find a lot of mash type foods that they eat locally, and meals are packed with carbohydrates. So contrary to what you may believe, you will always be full and not come back looking the size of a supermodel, the food is just too good and packed with plenty of carbs to fill you for the long hot days.
So, I know what your thinking… She’s in Africa it must be scorching all the time. Don’t get me wrong when it is hot, it is HOT, and we have embraced any spare time to soak up the sun and try and get a summers glow. (Always use high factor suncream kids). But currently it is classed as winter over here, so although we get temperatures in the late 20’s we have actually had a fair bit of rainfall. Coming from the North of England I thought I had seen the worst of it, however, when it rains here it POURS. But for us, the rain most welcome as it is so refreshing. Emily and I did find ourselves doing a rain dance and soaking it all in after the hot day we had. Unlike England, it does not continue with dreary grey skies and cold air but changes immediately to blue skies and pleasant weather.
For now, this is the initial insight of my first impressions and will soon update you on the rest of my time here.