Where Are We?

Uganda is in Central Eastern Africa.  Uganda is the head of the Nile River, which flows north.  The southeastern part of the country is water, part of Lake Victoria, and this is where the Nile begins, in a city called Jinja.  For comparison, the country of Uganda is very similar in size to the state of Missouri.  Uganda is a very green country getting lots of rain and is primarily farm land, at over 70% of the country is farmed.  Uganda Kids Project, where we live, is at just over 5000′ altitude and stays around 75-82*F most of the time during the day.africa-usa

 

The official and primary language in Uganda is English, even if it is the 2nd language of most people.  There are many, many native languages throughout Uganda, but English is the one that most people communicate with between people from different areas and around the main cities and is taught in grade schools, used in courts of law, official documents, and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts.  The primary religions are Roman Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 42% & Muslim 12.1%.  The population is just over 37 million people, with nearly 1/2 of the population being under 14 years old, and about 47% being between 15-54 years old, the median age being 15 years old.

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda.  Kampala has most of the things you’d expect to find in any capital city, high rises, businesses of all types, lots of people, traffic, etc.  Intersections don’t have stoplights or stop signs and can be very interesting to experience for the first time.  In Kampala, the primary mode of transportation is taxi bus.  Taxi’s in Uganda are not single party as many in the US are used to, but are more like a bus route, where there could be anywhere from 15-20 people crammed inside.  Rides are cheap, but hot and cramped.  Most Ugandans don’t drive but rely on public transportation.  An alternative to the taxis are boda bodas, which are motorcycle scooters.  They are approx 125cc bikes that are made for one person, but will commonly be seen with a full family riding passenger.  Boda bodas are not allowed in the capital as they are very reckless.  Boda boda drivers require no special permits or licenses; if you own a scooter, you can start your own taxi service and all profits are your own.  The taxi’s are federally controlled and have all types of requirements and are much safer for transportation.  There isn’t anywhere in the country you can’t go using a taxi or boda boda.

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Kampala, the capital, aerial view

 

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Kampala, capital city, view from just outside the city

 

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Uganda intersections don’t have stoplights or stop signs; it’s a fight for the win

 

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Family on a Boda boda

 

Uganda Kids Project is located in a remote village called Ishunga, about a 6 hour drive southwest from the capital, Kampala.  The nearest large city is Mbarara which is about an hour away to the northeast.  In Mbarara is where you would find the nearest modern grocery stores or any other shop to buy anything simple, advanced purchases are all done in Kampala where the nearest Walmart type shops are.

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Ishunga is a farming village in the “bush” that is very remote, but very beautiful.  Most homes don’t have electricity, and there is no running water.  Most families rely on their land to produce for them.  Many men will move to the “city” and find a job, working 11 months, then coming home for December.  Mom’s stay home to raise kids and farm.  Daily life in Ishunga is full of hard work, fetching water, digging, planting, weeding, picking, trading, etc.  Most families who live in farm villages such as this are very poor.  The average education is to about 5th grade when kids are old enough to start working, so they leave school.  Many people in the community have never left it before, never been to a city or experienced life outside of the “bush”.  Their way of life is difficult, but very simple.

 

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The farming village of Ishunga
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Standard type of dwelling found in and around Ishunga
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No land left unplanted, pumpkin in with banana

 

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