Wednesday, August 20, 2008

From the calm of the countryside to the hustle of Kampala

Accustomed to the relative calm and quiet of the countryside, only to be hit by the noise, dust and congestion in Kampala when i returned at the weekend. I must say "Kamunyes" or bread vans cum human vans donning blue and white stripes are one of Kampala's biggest tourist attractions or repellants, depending on which side of the debate you are on.
I always tell people who care to listen that the "Kamunye" industry is the biggest employer in Kampala with hundreds if not thousands of young men acting as drivers, conductors, stage monitors, taxi park sellers, ticket sellers and taxi guides to mention a few. But does Kampala need all these hundreds of taxis that only worsen the already nagging traffic jams and pollution? The other day, Ugandan journalist Timothy Kalyegira commented that if the smoke hovering over the olympic bird's nest in Beijing is what the west calls high levels of pollution then Kampala could possibly be declared a no-go zone. This summarizes the pollution levels in Kampala.
This time round, as i was travelling, fewer passengers risked eating "nyama choma" or roasted meat on the way maybe because of the fear of unsuspectingly eating dogs. As you may be aware, a couple of weeks ago, some Kampalans were nabbed slaughtering a dog and a few days later a local tabloid reported that hundreds of stray dogs in Kyambogo-a Kampala suburb had disappeared and it was feared that this meat is on sale to unsuspecting customers.
Otherwise, it was nice returning to Mutungo after a long time in Kitgum. They say East or West....Nyumbani ni bora....
Be blessed

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Northern Uganda: Away from hand-outs

For starters, rains are raging in most parts of northern Uganda and there is relative calm at the moment.
As the rains continue to rage in most parts of Northern Uganda, the natives are responding logically by getting down to business-tilling the land. Openning of large chunks of land remains a challenge due to heavy reliance on the hand hoe. Considering that the terrain is compartible with animal traction, local leaders and policy makers should devise means of advocating for and supporting animal traction so as to enhance bigger scale production and gradually reduce subsistence production.This is the right course if the region is to move away from hand-outs from NGOs. Hopefully WFP will be out of business by December.

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