Uganda is a republic in East Africa, formerly colonized by the British. Churchill called it ”The pearl of Africa”, as this country has many natural resources, fertile soils, a good climate and a relatively well-educated population. Most of Uganda is situated on a plateau surrounded by mountains, lakes and valleys. The largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria, is found by Uganda’s capital Kampala on the Southern part of the country. Urban centres have grown since the country’s independence in 1962, however, most of the population remains rural, and one-third of the urban population is situated in Kampala. Uganda’s vegetation is heaviest in the south, whereas central and northern Uganda becomes more a wooden Savannah. The country is rich on wildlife, however many animals are now mainly present in animal preserves and national parks.
Uganda is Swahili for “Land of Ganda”, as the Ganda people are the most urbanized of all tribes of Uganda, however the country is populated by dozens of ethnic groups. There are at least 32 languages spoken in Uganda, but English, Swahili, Ganda are the most used once. Uganda’s cuisine in most of the south is a kind of plantain called “matoke”, which is cooked in stews and curries. Sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and cassava along with a variety of vegetables are also very popular foods. In the north it is mostly millet, sorghum, cornmeal and cassava with local vegetables that are eaten. Climate: In the south there are two wet seasons, April-May and October-November, in between are dry periods, however a tropical thunderstorm may occur. In the north there are two seasons, a wet one from April-November and a dry one from October-March. Uganda’s tropical climate is modified locally by the presence of the lakes.
- Late November – mid-January
- Mid-April – early May
- Early to late August
The project is located within 1 to 4 hours of Kampala in Uganda. We work in many different villages in and around Kampala and Jinja, but they are all only 3 hours drive from each other. These are the villages of Bubogo, Budondo, Bugenbe, Bwindi, Buwenda, Lubani, Kimasa, Kyabirwa, Kyoma, Nakakabala, Mbahe, Masese, Mpigi, Mpumude, Wakiso, Wanyange and Jinja town itself.
We aim to continue supporting the school in these areas in a number of ways over the next three years by focusing on education and health. These will include more classroom constructions, toilet and sanitation works, and more Projects linked to the access of clean water.
Uganda has many tribes and we urge you to find out about which you are staying with. Learn some of their tribal greetings, your efforts will be greatly appreciated. Jump on the back of a ‘boda-boda’ the local bicycle taxis and enjoy a relaxed ride while chatting with your ‘driver’. We support a number of villages through our work within Uganda which you may wish to explore.
Most houses we use in a Ugandan village are quite small, sometimes girls may have a couple of rooms to share between themselves with the boys in a house next door. Occasionally a larger house is available where everyone can separate themselves in the same house (boys rooms, girls rooms and a room to eat and socialize in). Generally, a host family will move out space entirely for the duration of a project and live with other family members close by but still visit daily and help cook etc. They do this so that both our hosts and our volunteers can have their own personal space. However, for very small groups we may also live under the same roof as a host family; if this is the case we ensure that the house is large enough to have a private room for volunteers to sleep and socialize in.
Your house will be close to a water source but may not have running water. You will have a shower cubicle either indoor or outdoor, or you may take the traditional ‘bucket shower’. Electricity may not be available but alternatives will be provided – usually paraffin lamps which create quite a cosy environment in the evenings. You will be given a chance to charge phones at least every weekend if you choose to do independent travel away from the project site.
Beds will be foam mattresses on the floor and bedrooms are shared with your fellow volunteers and crew. You may have a social area such as a living room and there may be a garden to relax in after school. Storage will be limited and you backpack must have a lockable compartment in it. Your accommodation is selected in a secure location in close proximity to the school. A local cook is provided which often will be a member of the host family within whose house you are staying.
You will have a local cook who will cook at the house on charcoal stoves. The food will be of good local standard. Breakfast will be a simple affair consisting largely of bread, jam and fruit, and lunch and dinner will consist of good quality local food- this being any combination of; rice, potatoes including sweet potatoes, ugali (a maize meal stiff porridge), chapattis, spaghetti, cabbage, spinach, beans, seasonal vegetables, eggs, beef stew, with sauces of a tomato base. Most meals will be vegetarian.
Ample drinking water will also be provided in the house and the school. The water is clean spring water that has been boiled thoroughly and kept in a sterile covered container. Bottled drinking water can also be brought in Kampala. Volunteers are required to drink a lot of water as it is dry and hot during the day which makes physical work challenging. There is a little breeze, and occasional dust storms do blow around in the area. High factor sunscreen, hats and sunglasses will be a must on site. We don’t work in the middle two hours of the day when the sun is hottest and we take regular breaks for water due to the environmental factors.