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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : A little tour in the Pearl of Africa

Uganda was once called "Pearl of Africa" by Winston Churchill in one of his trip in this country. It is said that in Uganda, we can see a mix of everything we can discover in the African continent.
I didn't need more to give an orientation of my estimated way and to find myself going a little bit more in the West from Kenya before entering Tanzania.
I entered Uganda from the east before to reach the capitale Kampala. From this point, I made a tour of the country by starting in the east, then the north, the west and I recently left the country through the south.
I can indeed share with you what I have lived those 3 last weeks in this country which was perturbed a lot those last decades.


Current situation of the country

Don't be worry, the pictures of war and fighting people don't remain nowadays. Uganda is now a secure country and you shouldn't miss the warm welcome of the Ugandan people in you are in the corner.
Indeed, from 1971 to 1979, Uganda was under the dictatorship of Idi Amin Dada, a selfish State Governor who devastate totally the economy of the country and cost the life of more than 300000 people. Even if the conclusion of 9 years of reign is so bad, some of the locals remember still the message of hope and future that this dictator was giving to them. Surprising information but it is true that Idi Amin wanted to do a lot for his country, the only problem was that he was really using any ways to achieve that.
After a time of transition, Yoweri Museveni arrive on the highest place of the governement in 1986. He is still got this power by the way. This government lead to a movement of revolution in the North of the country led by Joseph Kony. This movement called LRA (Lord resistance army) was one of the most humanity disaster those last years. From 1988 to 2006, a war was destroying the North of the country without even succeeding to disturb the leadership of Museveni.

Nowadays, the country found a little stability. The locals are happy to welcome again the foreigners. The Asiatic Indian community has made his great come-back in the business of the country after having been chased by the country by Amin Dada.

The Indian community is very important in Kampala, the Indou temple is one example.

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A current problem in Africa: the contrast urban/countryside

I have seen this fact since my entering in the African continent. Indeed, there is a big difference between the people I could meet in the cities and the people with who I spent time in the countryside.
I think Uganda doesn't make the exception. In Kampala, for example, it is very easy to meet a rich-class, behaving like in the Western World.
A street in the business center of Kampala

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In the contrary, in the countryside, the people are very poor and try to deal with the some incomes coming mainly from the agriculture.
Indeed, the main activity in Uganda is coming from the fields, in another words from agriculture.

We cannot say that those children of farmers look very rich

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Another characteristics of this contrast is the mean of transport. In the city, especially in Kampala, you can move by using taxis (called "Matatus" in Kenya) even if the traffic is just awful.

The taxi-park of Kampala is just the more chaotic I have ever seen!

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Still in the city, you can use the "Boda-Bodas", which are in reality a kind of motorbike-taxis. The story which gave the name to those vehicules is quite interesting. Indeed, some years ago, one of the means to reach the Kenyan border to the Ugandan border was this motorbike-taxis. The drivers were screaming "Border to Border" which became with time "Border-Border" and then with the pronunciation "Boda-Boda".

Back to the countryside. Here the taxis and Boda-Bodas are not very common. The main mean of transport is the bicycle. The problem comes when you have to carry many things. The Ugandan seems to have quite an experience in this exercice.

The bicycle, the main mean of transport in the Ugandan countryside.

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However, if the agriculture doesn't bring the richness, it is rich by his diversity.
I indeed discovered some plantations and some fruits I didn't even know before. In Ugandan, we can find plantations such as sugar cane, coffee, corn, cocoa, pineapple, matoke, jackfruit, passion fruit, kasava or even sweet potatoes. By the way, the exportation of coffee is the main incomes in the country.

Matoke is one of the main dish in Ugandan, as Ugali could be in Kenya (for information, Ugali is called "Pocho" in Uganda and is a little bit softer). Matoke comes from the plantation of the same name, which looks like a lot the banana, with a green colour.

Matoke, a fruit looking like a lot the banana

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From the fruit to the dish, there is only one step...

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I would say that like in every afican dish, the taste of Matoke is pretty.... Untasty but the fact is that it fill your stomac..

Let's talk about the jackfruit now. I was surprise to discover this tree, where the huge fruits are laying down I don't know how from the tree. The taste of this fruit is pretty sweet even if we just eat a little part of this one.

The jackfruit tree and ...his jackfruits

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Fruits, plantations of all kinds, Uganda is the greenest country I have seen for this trip. The main part of the country is also cover by hills and got an important number of lakes.

Uganda, the greenest country I visited so far

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The life in the Ugandan countryside

So, when you are traveling in Uganda, you will meet people living in the countryside. I had the chance to discover the daily life of most of the Ugandan people and the problems that they have to face everyday.
Water is one of those problems. It is difficult to realize that in France because we just have to use the tap to get this resource so useful for the life. You can guess that it is a little bit different in Uganda.
Most of the time, the water is get from the rain.

Here the water is get from the rook and led to a huge tank (on the left on the picture)

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This is important to know that even the water from the rain can be infected by some virus so it is necessary to boil it.

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In this area of Africa, it is not rare to see house made by mud. The junctions between the pieces of mud are made from the excrements of the cow. The best way to show you what looks like this kind of house is to share with you a picture, no?

A house in the Ugandan countryside

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 Knowing that the number of children by family is as high than in Kenya (arounf 10 children by family), there is many schools. The fact is that in Uganda, the education is an obligation but is also not free. There is not free school like we can have in France. Those schools are mixing boy and girls by the way.

I was also curious about the local girl's fashion. Especially on which concern the haircut. Here, 90% of the girls are shaving her hairs. A curious fashion that I don't really fancy but you know... tastes and colours J

In Uganda, almost all women are shaving their hairs

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Hitch-Hiking in Uganda

As I said the Ugandan people are very nice. This population is open-minded, kind and ready to help. Even in the capital Kampala, you don't have any problem of insecurity.
In this fact, hitch-hiking wasn't a big problem. The only difficulty was to find myself in some are where the traffic was so low that I could see only 2 cars per hour!

While waiting, I am ready to read sometimes

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Anyway, touring the country wasn't really a problem and I succeeded because I am those days in Tanzania.

I let you with a picture of my crossing of the Equator and my arrival in the South Hemisphere of the planet.

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See you soon

Jeremy



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