Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kampala, Uganda

My introduction to Kampala was about as dynamic as one could hope for. Saw UN planes sitting on the tarmac; followed by three chickens held upside down by their legs, with wings flapping and feathers flying, held by a woman on the back of a motorcycle. And that was followed by what looked to be a burning home. As we approached, we could see a man in a uniform lying on the roof, looking peaceful except that he was covered in a blaze of fire! Traffic was almost stopped, people were congregating, laughing, yelling, screaming and as we started to move forward fire truck were coming right at us. IF the man could have gotten up and out...he would have. Cabbie was sure he was electrocuted and was just buring up. Won't forget that for a long time.

As we approached Kampala city from Entebbe, I noticed feral dogs which you don't see in Nairobi. And while the area appears poor, it is neat and clean and the main drag from the airport into town was crammed with small mom and pop stores of all sorts, including an outside butcher shop with large hanging meat carcasses. And there are green banana vendors everywhere and these must weigh about 50 pounds. Saw a guy heft one up in front of him on his motorcycle and off he went.

Lots of mototaxis here. Walked to the mall from the Speke Hotel to look for a camera. I missed so many interesting shots...and no, I would NOT have taken one of "burning man." Chris, my contact here at New Vision and a Gates health Fellow came over this afternoon to chat and share a drink. Will see him tomorrow and am going to see what I might be able to do on my own.

Sitting and chatting at the hotel veranda, we looked out at a huge green park where two wedding events were going on. Beautiful and while Nairobi has tons of people walking quickly to work or to, people are out strolling as well. And then, after a wonderful Chicken Tikka (the owners are Indian) I noted that we also have what look like "working women" strolling the streets.

And so, when I get my camera, I will share some photos. My room is huge with a table and chairs in a side room for eating or having a meeting and while there are no drawers for clothing I do have a hang up wardrobe. Here, internet is free or "included" which is way better than teh $20+ per day we had to pay at the Hilton. Clean, neat, tidy and the help are very friendly. What more can you ask for?? So, hopefully, I will have a good night's sleep and then walk, have brunch with Chris and maybe go see some tombs and here about the Buganda Kingdom and learn some history.


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