The Pearl of Africa

We’ve been in Uganda for one month now, and I thought it would be fun to post a few interesting facts about life in Kampala, the capital of Uganda:

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In 1907, Winston Churchill visited Uganda and called it “The Pearl of Africa” because of its beautiful landscapes and incredible fertile soil.

Even though it’s a city, it is incredibly green.  We have already started trying our hand at gardening – the past several Saturdays Muigai and Natalie have planted various things – maize, sukumas (collard greens), sugarcane, and tomatoes.  This past Saturday, Natalie was wearing her gumboots, dancing around the garden and singing, “I’m a real farmer!”

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Kampala was built on seven hills.  Because the elevation is high, the climate is very moderate even though it’s on the equator.  It’s mostly in the 70s and 80s year round, which is wonderful for us – we won’t miss snow and cold winters at all!  This is the view from our patio:

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There are over 40 languages spoken in Uganda, but the language of education and business is English.

Although the Western media typically portrays Africa as being all huts and villages, Kampala is a modern city with skyscrapers, shopping malls, all kinds of international foods, movie theaters, coffee shops, playgrounds, swimming pools, a bowling alley and more.

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Although Uganda is recently well known for all of the publicity surrounding the LRA conflict in Northern Uganda, Kampala was not directly affected by the conflict and is one of the safest cities in the region.

Housing in Kampala ranges from tin one room shacks with no electricity/running water in the slum areas to huge mansions in the most affluent areas.  We live in a ranch style 3 bedroom house in a middle class Ugandan neighborhood.  Our organization (MCC) has been renting this house for the Uganda reps for the past 10 years, so the house was fully furnished when we arrived, which has made settling in a lot easier!  Here is a picture of our house (it was hard to get a decent picture because the house is on a hill):

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We really like Kampala so far and are enjoying exploring the city and learning our way around.

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