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Riots in Kampala

29 Apr

In several countries in East Africa the increase of food prices leaves people disappointed, poor, hungry. Riots are errupting in several cities, including Kampala.

The situation in Kampala is even more challenging than in Nairobi, because of the political climate. Just recently the long-serving president was re-elected. Military and Police are on the road to prevent post-election chaos. Unsuccessfully, it seems! Do Helicopters, heavy military vehicles and sirenes make us feel safer?

On the Monitor Website  you can get live updates of the Situation in Uganda. Arrests of politicians from the non-leading party are increasing, even one person is reported death (watch the video).

In our office and our close living environment, we have not been affected. But we chose our movements much more carefully this week than we did before January. Teargas and Rubber munition are not our favorites!

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A trip to Ugandas South!

1 Apr

I went on a Trip to Mbarara, a town in the south of Uganda.

The 4-hour ride was great, the landscape is just beautiful, dozens of different shades of green 🙂

Musevenis biggest errors… a good read

9 Dec

Read this blog post of a Ugandan friend, a great youth leader and as much critical as inspiring personality…

Campaign time

16 Nov

Every morning when I go and by buns for breakfast, I see his face on the door of the kiosk.

Last Sunday when I entered the university to go to our office, the Security Officer at the gate was wearing a yellow tshirt telling me to vote for him.

When the Presidential Campaigns opened on Monday and all candidates were introduced in Bweyogerere, he was on the opposite side of town. Everybody knew, he is running anyways.

On the same day the security staff at the gate of the (public!) university was not wearing uniforms but yellow tshirts “Vote for Museveni!”

During the Karaoke night, his song is played and the crowd shouts, “yes, Sebo” (Yes, Sir) when he asks if we want another rap.

Now even spiegel.de writes about him.

M7 pakalast!

Rwanda in 4 days?

2 Nov

Our East African Pioneers Conference (which I organized last year in Kenya) this year took place in Rwanda. Kigali is “only a busride” away from Kampala and so I am just on the way back from amazing four days in Rwanda.

How was it?

Hilly. That is one thing that everybody says about Rwanda. And it is true. The city is a connection of different villages and on hills and in valleys. Rich Areas in one valley, on the other side a totally different view on a new type of city. A slum-ish settlement on the other hill, just 5 minutes later we pass a shopping mall with a Nakumatt.

Confusing. Being french colonized Rwandans drive on the right side of the road. Of course half of the busses and matatus are from left-side-countries, so the confusion (in my head) is high. The traffic is much more organized than in Kampala or Kenya. Still the boda-bodas create chaos, at least twice per day when crossing a road we were nearly knocked.

The food really didnt go well with my stomach. Although we were served similarly as in Uganda (Matoke, Rice and Pasta, covered with beans or ground nut sauce with meat), I developed a crampy stomach ache over the last days and I am not the only who is still fighting with a bloated tumbo.

International. From the first view there are many whites around. Rwanda is working on becoming an IT hub in East and Central Africa an the Rwanda Development Board is coordinating the knowledge transfer and facilitates business settlement.

The language chaos is amazing and just with combined efforts of Ugandans, Kenyans and me we were able to find our way through. As much as few people on the street speak English, Kiswahili was understood by many more. I had planned to practise my French but either something was wrong with my accent or with their ears.

Somehow we felt like in Nairobi, when the main language in the taxi was Swahili. If the driver could have just sat on the right side 🙂

Friendly. I felt very very welcome. Firstly being a german citizen, I did not pay visa fees, which is a first amongst the 6 African countries I visited. Not only did the alumni and members of AIESEC welcome us with open arms and big words but also in the neighborhood where we stayed for the last night the neighbours, shop dealers and kids greeted us without great expectations (In Uganda we often hear: “Buy me sweets”).

The conference was great, proud to say we had 70 Kenyan delegates, 20 Ugandan and 30 Tanzanians. AIESEC in Rwanda, being a young country, had 15 of their members attending but also 10 memers to organize the whole event. We had an adorable Chair, a former MCP of Cameroon, who also worked in AIESEC International for one year. Now he works as consultant and lives with his french wife and two kids in Rwanda.

Rwanda in 4 days?

A great first glance into a country, no chance of understanding a lot of the complex past or the current political situation. But definitely a great experience and I am sure that I will take the next invitation and spend a week.