From Uganda to Rwanda

So that were the first three weeks already! The last night we came up to Chris’ house and had bbq there. We (read, 2 guys from our group) had to kill our own chickens, but then you at least know what you eat I guess. For those who are wondering, I didn’t eat them and I am still a vegetarian. I did watch them get killed though. It is amazing how long they still keep moving, I thought those were the exceptional horror stories. So though it was quite gruesome, I think it is good to know what happens to your food, instead of turning a blind eye and just enjoying your oversized bucket of KFC.

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Photo credit Josephine

Altogether, I truly enjoyed my time in Bukomansimbi, and Uganda in general. People are truly friendly and welcoming. When we were in Kalangala for example, we called a employee from the municipality to meet up. He said “come now”, showed us around for an hour, brought us to two different clinics (he didn’t have to, we needed to go there for personal reasons) and then still even brought us back to our lodge. That’s very contrasting to the Netherlands, where I have to take a morning off from school in order to just pick up a passport, as it’s the only time they are available.

Nevertheless, there is of course a darker side to Uganda. Though people smile at us, it is clear something is going on behind that smile, just unclear what exactly. It is such a shame that in this short amount of time and the scope of our project, we didn’t get to know the more personal stories from people. The kids laugh and wave and run around, but some don’t even wear more than a T-shirt, swollen tummies of protein shortage. Now I do not want to paint the typical “poor-Africa” picture, but I also cannot deny that it is there and that the situation could be better. It is just not as generalizable as TV makes you believe, everyone has his or her own story. But the fact that the entire funding for our project, just to install some containers, is external says something about the situation. I do not mean to insinuate that external help is the perfect solution, or that we all should start sending money. For me it is just interesting to reflect upon my own situation in comparison to theirs, and it drives me to become good at the job that I do and passionate about the person I want to be. That way I can at least contribute to improvement, as an international project manager, not just visiting orphanages and building wells, but actually helping these countries become more independent. And I look forward to my internship in September (sneak peek: also somwhere sxin Africa, but most of you know already).

Anyway, after the last night in Bukomansimbi we went to Kampala on Friday, and took the night bus to Kigali, which was an adventure on its own. I mean, I slept through half of it and I’m also not easily shaken, but those of us who were sitting next to the window had less fun. They could see very little in the dark, but there was barely a road, with big and deep trenches on the sides. Also, we took much much longer at the border then they usually do, but I did not mind so much. I mean, what are you going to do in Kigali at 6 in the morning? Now that we were later we could at least go to the hostel, dump our stuff and have breakfast.

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Photo credit Josephine

So far Kigali is different from Kampala in many ways. From what I have seen Saturday, it is more modern. All the main roads are of concrete, the boda drivers have newer motorcycles, and you actually get a helmet when you get on. Furthermore, it is a lot less crowded. Less buildings, lower buildings and fewer shops alongside the road. In Kampala every square meter was covered with people that wanted to sell you something, here there are less. Nevertheless, it does not mean that poverty is not here. In certain areas you can still see it vividly, and I was quite shocked when a few glue sniffing kids wanted my attention. Then again, I was unfortunately sick yesterday, so I do not have seen much yet to base my perceptions on. It is better today, and I am hoping to go in town again this afternoon!

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