I thought I would dedicate this first post of mine to share my first impressions of the city and what I have been experiencing so far!
My first week in Kampala have been dedicated to getting to know the city, but more than anything I’ve been resting. I’ve been experiencing a lot of side-effects from all different vaccines I’ve taken, fatigue, fever, chills, an upset stomach – you name it, I’ve had it. However, I am slowly getting better, the weather really does wonders for a tired body.
I am staying in a very lively part of the city, next to the newly built Acacia mall. The traffic is absolutely crazy, boda bodas (motorcycle taxis), bicycles, street vendors, buses and cars are all constricted to streets built for a population a tenth of the current number.
From what I have seen so far Kampala is a very clean city, there is very little trash on the side of road, and on every corner there is someone tidying up, picking trash. Another thing that stands out from places I have visited in the past is the high level of security. Armed security is on every corner, and metal detectors welcome you in to shops and restaurants. However, the semi-automatic guns are in stark contrast with the warm greetings you get from the guards. Most of them welcome you with a warm smile and are quick to small talk while they search your bag.
View from on top of Acacia mall. Thunder and rain minutes away.
The cottage I am staying in is a simple place, with a lush garden surrounding it. There is no hot water, air conditioning or fans, but I absolutely love it. Plus, skipping the air con might get me used to the humid climate faster! Cause wow, it is a humid place. My neighbour, an Ugandan woman with a 10-months old, Swedish (!) born girl, have told me about how the weather in Uganda has been changing since she was younger. Climate change have shifted the seasons, and what used to be the dry season is now humid months, with rain falling every other day.
The view from Pearl of Africa, an over-the-top hotel, with marble floor and golden chairs. Perfect spot for watching the sunset and see how the rich and famous are spending their vacation in Kampala.
Lastly, I have yet to meet with my person of contact due to illness and change of plans for both of us. Hopefully we will be able to meet up this weekend to discuss the field study. I have also been invited for dinner with my hosts, Sandra and Andrew. They own several airbnbs in Kampala, and hosts dinners for guests on their rooftop every Sunday.