Our latest guest post by Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg – two travel bloggers on a mission to visit almost every country in Africa. Keep track of their progress over at Border Jumpers.
People in Uganda are very laid back, and the feeling is contagious! We managed to go three days without a cup of coffee and didn’t seem to mind. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a Disney movie. You hear the words “Hakuna Matata” everywhere.
Internet services down nationwide for the entire day? Hakuna Matata
Flights cancelled? Hakuna Matata…
Two hours in wall-to-wall rush hour traffic in Kampala? Hakuna Matata…
In the Mukono District, about an hour outside of Kampala, Uganda, we met Edward Mukiibi and Roger Serunjogi, coordinators of the Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) project. Edward, 23, and Roger, 22 are improving nutrition, environmental awareness and food traditions by establishing school gardens at preschool, day and boarding schools. By teaching kids early about growing, preparing and eating food they hope to cultivate the next generation of farmers and eaters who can preserve Uganda’s culinary traditions. “If a person doesn’t know how to cook or prepare food, they don’t know how to eat,” says Edward.
One DISC student, 19 year-old Mary Naku, says she’s gained leadership and farming skills from the programme. “As youth we have learned to grow fruits and vegetables,” she says, “to support our lives”. Thanks to DISC, students see agriculture as a way to make money, help their communities, and preserve biodiversity.
In Kampala, we stayed at a budget hotel called Aponye, which was a terrific value ($40USD/night for a double room) and included hot water, working cable TV, and wireless internet that worked in the room. Aponye is also in walking distance from Kampala’s bustling markets, where every non-vegetarian should try eating grasshoppers, sold in little bags as snacks, like popcorn. A short drive from the city is beautiful Lake Victoria, where for a little bit of money ($4USD), you can access the water (and their swimming pool) via a fancy resort for the entire day. Also, for the adventures, book a whitewhite rafting trip with Adrift and raft at the source of the Nile river. If you have more time you also might consider booking a Gorilla trek, which while pricey (at least $200USD per person) is an unforgetable experience.
In terms of food, the best meal we had while in Kampala was at an authentic Indian restuarant called Hanndi (near the mall). Afterwards for drinks, mix with both locals and tourists at a terrific and fun wateringhole called Bubbles O’Learys (during the week, you’ll enjoy trivia night).
No matter what you decide to do, you will find Kampala safe and so friendly that it becomes contagious. From the moment we arrived till the moment we left, we couldn’t help but immediately feel, and fall in love with, the pulse and energy of the bustling country.
Danielle Nierenberg and Bernard Pollack (aka Border Jumpers) are travelling across the continent of Africa looking at innovations for alleviating hunger and poverty. Their next stop: Rwanda.