Day 2 – Bweyogerere, Kampala
November 4, morning
Woke up rather early this morning, but slept fantastically. The bright sun was already forcing itself down when I strolled around at 7 this morning. Tony says it has been incredibly hot and dry for the past few months, but the rains started a few weeks ago and appear nearly every day. Ah, the coffee season is here! Rainy season is coffee harvest season, and the picking out in the east (Bugisu region) – where I will be headed once I return back here from Burundi – is up in full swing, churning out those awesome beans that you and I love.
My first sight out the window this morning was of Tony’s neighbors (a vacant lot) making bricks – a very familiar and thus welcoming sight if you’ve ever lived or travelled in Uganda for long periods. That is, it’s welcoming only if you/your bedroom are downwind, which was luckily the case this morning. You see variations of these brick cookers (kilns, but not exactly) and then proper kilns everywhere as you drive around the country and the outskirts of Kampala. These massive stacks (think two Suburbans on top of each other) made of dried mud and straw are fed soaking wet cuts of dark red mud to bake bricks. They in turn feed the incredible amount of new real estate developing around Kampala – from new malls to highway overpasses (though I hope they’re not using these bricks under my tires) to office complexes. Friends here say that Kampalans are getting poorer (general economic downturn, plus the vast amount of workers employed by NGOs and charities, who now see far fewer donations), but they also say that if you’re at all involved in real estate then you’re making good bucks. From the changed faces of neighborhoods all over Kampala, I can see how this could be true.
OK, now off to have a morning coffee and head to busy KLA for the day. I’m dreading the traffic, dust and hundreds of cars that trucks that move inch-by-inch around city roundabouts. Traffic has not begun to migrate onto the new highway (opened 3 weeks ago) that now arcs over city so that trucks and cars (i.e. ALL goods and travelers between the port in Kenya and Western Uganda, Rwanda, Burudi and parts of Congo), don’t need to pass through the extreme center city KLA. Boxer, sock and DVC video cartridge shopping here I come!
Excited for Burundi tonight (I’ve never been before), and then for meeting with USAID/LEAD Uganda back in KLA next Monday.