There are 7-8 different species of banana here in Uganda, the most common being the plantain-like vegetable called matoke. Plantains are more starchy than sweet and must be cooked before being eaten. They are a staple crop in much of Africa, and are served boiled, steamed, baked, or fried. Robert explained that Uganda also have another plantain called njamonja, the very sweet ggonja, red bananas, finger bananas called ndzi, the large yellow mbite and the big boyoya. Bananas are grown by small-scale farmers who rely on their 'backyard' banana plots to sustain them through times of hardship, when coffee or cocoa prices fall or when annual crops such as beans or maize fail. Ecologically speaking, banana plants help to protect fragile soils from erosion, particularly in densely populated areas with high rainfall. In Uganda, bananas provide the staple for more than 2/3 of the population - the annual consumption reaches over 400 kg per person. As well as providing a staple food, the sales of these bananas in the urban areas provide an income for the largely rural population of the country. Uganda grows and eats 11 million tons of plantains each year, making them the world’s largest producer, although plantain production is now on a decline due to the increase of fast-spreading diseases and declining soil fertility. The plantains are transported on heavy lorries to distribution points, then continue on the back of a bicycle to the sales stalls. Often we see a small child pushing a large bike up a steep hill with a huge bunch of bananas hanging from each side as well as two bunches on the back.
Kneeling instead of Bowing
In Uganda we girls kneel when we´re greeting elders, or delivering something to them. Just like they bow in Japan. Its just a sign of respect but not fear.
Once upon a time as i was at high school, a relative of mine and a friend went to visit my great aunt who was leaving near our school. She was just working in the banana plantation and so we went to meet her there. After thanking her for the good work she was doing, as is the norm at home, we knelt down to greet her. Margret our friend had just come to the South region and as we learnt later she was´n t familiar with this custom at all. She remained standing with her mouth open in astonishment. And back in the dormitory we had a good laugh as Margret narrated the elusive story. You know for the rest of the girls kneeling is like going to bed every day.
In the beginning 80’s Uganda was recovering from civil war; markets were quite poor, with not a lot of choice for the possible customers ; here in Kygorobya, south of Kasese near Lake George the women sell grated roots (taro) and you barely found other type of food on this market. Here were not the bright colours and bright smiles of African markets. . .Related to:
- Historical Travel
This game is very popular among locals but unfortunatelly I didn't catch the name of it. It is game played by men exclusevely, never saw any women to play it. Guys usually play it around the market place and are followed by a crowd who support one or other player. Players are very skillfull and playing this game very fast. They told me it's the best way to shorten the time.
Before my visiting there I had very wrong perception about Uganda! There are so many predjudices regarding Africa and its landscapes, I was almost convinced it is dry country and mostly covered by the desert areas. Uganda, surprisingly, is extremelly green country and has a very rich soil. It has very huge potentials in the agriculture, especially in cultivating fruits and vegetables.
The kids from my neighbourhood
Maybe kids aren't more curious than adults are but kids showing it openly and without a hesitations. I was the only white who stayed in Naalya and later on some adults told me that I was the first white ever whom some kids have seen in live.
Swahili isn't widely speaking in Uganda, as it is in Kenya or Tanzania, but most people using swahili term of "mzungu" when mentioning whites. I was in Kenya before visiting Uganda and word mzungu wasn't strange to me at all.
At first kids were shy and reserved but very inquisitive. Smile could break all barriers and soon we become pals, I was welcomed and felt accepted. Not much of them do speak english and the communication wasn't very easy but we managed to overcome it with the help of mimics.
Although poor and in lack of almost everything, this kids have shown pride and never have ask anything from me. One day I bought a football ball in the town and gave it to this kids as a gift and in that very moment they probably were the happiest kids in the world. I had even to play soccer with them and some adults joined us too.
The next day I got a letter from the local priest with the invitation to join to the congregation since now I am a part of the community. I was very moved and have preserved that letter as a dear memory.
Ugandans might be poor but they have big open hearts, very friendly people indeed.
Primary school kids are probably very much alike all over the world, joyfull and playfull whenever stepping out of the classes. Spending much of times out in a fresh air and teaching about the environment, nature and life should be the best school programe for them. This kids from different schools and places came on a day trip to Entebbe, the same day when I was visiting Animal Orphanage. It was pleasant meeting them there.
Marabou all around
At first I was curious and attracted by seeing such an big bird in the nest on the tree which is opposite to Imperial hotel, right in the heart of Kampala. But than in the next days I realized that marabou is some kind of domestic bird, alike stork in the central part of Europe. Marabou is from stork family, however much bigger bird than European storks and with very long and strong beak which inspires respect. It is called the undertaker bird due to its shape from behind.
Marabou live near human habitations because they have become dependent of human garbage. Marabou is frequent a scavanger and its natural home is savannah or game reserves where usually scavenging dead animal corps or attacking smaller animals or birds, flamingoe including.
Don't be surprised if girl is approaching to you when alone out on the streets, offering to show you around. Majority of them are ordinary girls, mostly students at the local univesity, whos idea is to get free lunch or small pocket money. They are usually very polite and kind and never crossing the line of good behaving. If company was enjoyable they could ask or admit to join you in some pub or nightclub.
There are, however, other kind of girls gathering in the certain clubs all over the city, Rock Garden and Al's are the most notorious. Most of the girls, one could meet there, are pro's although they don't have the same approach as street hookers or nightclub's birds in Europe.
Besides local girls, in such a places operating girls from Ruanda who, as I was awarned, are more or less all HIV positive. AIDS is huge problem in Uganda because of very low standard of the protections. Keep it in mind if willing to have more fun with both local girls and boys.
Police arrogancy - hope it was news of a day
I didn't follow tv program in Uganda, cannot say wheter this accident was news of a day on a local network, however, have read newspapers the next day. Belive it or not, there was short article on a front page with no details about the accident and, without any picture.
Why I am telling this? While I was taking this pictures a guy dressed in a normal suit approached to me asking to see what I did snaped. I pretended not to speak english answering him in my Croatian language. He insisted to see what did I snaped about the accident but I switched memory cards (have two type of cards in my Sony R1) displayed pictures I took the other day.
After kneeling down to greet granny, she then invites you to sit on her lap like a baby. especially when one has been away for a long time. Its a loving gesture which girls are very fond. Tell you what i was home lately and guess what? Yes i did and i loved it.
Road Side Shopping for Fresh Food
No matter if you are driving your own vehicle or going by pubil transport, there will be people in the street wanting to sell you foods and drinks. This can be quite practical. Sometimes you can buy big portions of fruits to take home or just a snack on the way (meat, roasted bananas, cookies, peanuts, candy, sodas,...).
Tlapia fish, freshly caught out of Lake Victoria, is very delicious! They tie it on your bumper as you go, so that it dries on the way home! (Can get quite dusty though, haha!)
Police arrogancy - Act two
This car, although droven by its owner, were violently pushed from the middle of the street and crashed into another car parked aside the street. The owner complained to the people around that was blamed by the police for causing this accident, although it was evident that he had nothing to do with it!
When the police officer saw me with my camera was asked if I took any photo? My camera was almost confiscated and I was said to leave the spot immediatelly.
This is what I ate every day in the hospital canteen (there were some more choices, but this was the best): Matoke and Posho with groundnut sauce! They serve enormous portions for lunch...
Matoke = cooked bananas that taste like potatoes
Posho = the white stuff, It's made out of cornRelated to:
Those cows with their huge horns that go to the side look quite dangerous, but are very friendly :-) They are the major food and income source in many regions of the country. People drink A LOT of milk and safe-made yoghurt. Later the cow might end up as beef stew as well...
If you want to stay in a luxurious hotel in Kampala, here it is. The Sheraton is located in some...more
Ternan Avenue, Entebbe, KM, UG
Good for: Solo
Looking over the Taxi Park in Arua is the Rippons Motel. This building or two buildings of several...more
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