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Week 2 in Nam’ – My new home

Mar 6 • 2731 views • 5 Comments on Week 2 in Nam’ – My new home Africa, East Africa, Kampala, Uganda, Volunteering

Namuwongo is just what I wanted.

I’m on a secure ‘compound’ (walled garden), five minutes walk from Nam’ (a suburb of Kampala approx 15-30 minutes away, depending on traffic). In Nam’ I can get public transport, use the internet (well, in theory at least!) and do all my food shopping (more about that another day, what an experience that is too!) There’s a shanty town over the wall, just 100m away, so there’s a constant buzz of human activity (not to mention drumming!)

Heard a big THUMP behind me on my walk and a man jumped down from a tree with an enormous Jack fruit, a foot long. (And it wasn’t in his trousers).

A few notes from my diary:

First day in my new job, shame I couldn’t iron my clothes! It was all very relaxed and am learning to go with the flow. Spent the morning listening to Patrick and Enid understanding more about UCF’s immediate needs.

I recognised Patrick as soon as I saw him. Our Luganda lessons had taught us the importance of formal greetings so I was taken aback when he gave me a big bear hug!! I used my few words of Luganda to great effect when we arrived at the house; I held out my hand and said ‘osiibye otya’ and Enid and Sophie went crazy, screaming and laughing for a good five minutes. I thought Enid was going to expire! It was so funny and a tremendous welcome.
Hoping to meet two of the Directors this week and 4×4 driving lessons are planned once I get my Ugandan driving licence (though this is just a formality and not a prerequisite to driving!!)With all the other changes going on, almost forgot I am starting a new job as well, almost seems incidental. Meeting the Trustees in London and spending some time with Mike (the founder, who lived here for ten years) means I knew quite a lot about my new role. Still can’t believe my luck, this is such a great placement.

Electricity, we have some! Not all fixed yet but landlord arrived at 7.30 this morning. Most of house has been rewired now. Feels strange to have light and power! Once my bathroom has been rewired I will even have hot water! (But a power shower it aint).
There is a cluster of volunteers my side of town who I met up with yesterday so support network is building nicely too.

Michele has been asking about the men, well some really gorgeous young men on our first night out, playing the drums and doing the traditional African dancing. I just need to find out where the “h- edu(ma)cated” men hang out (and get a bit of a suntan first!) Still, plenty of time for all that – mpole mpole as they say here.

Avocadoes are ripe and dropping off tree into our garden compound but the paw paw aren’t ripe yet. It stinks out there tho, Simpson thinks there’s a dead rat over the other side of the hedge.

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5 Responses to Week 2 in Nam’ – My new home

  1. lizziema says:

    Kate alerted me to this entry with spectacular wiring that I could worry about. Just getting used to the creatures under the man hole from the latest entry. Your reports do paint a very vivid picture of what it must be like. Didn’t realise you had a guard, sorry you need one but glad you have one.

  2. Charlie says:

    Dear Mother and Concerned Aunties!
    Don’t worry, the wiring has been fixed, this was just a ‘work in progess’ pic.
    UCF had only been in the new house/office when I arrived, hence all the headaches. It transpires the last (long-term) tenant neglected the place and the owner lives abroad.
    Having a guard seems to be fairly common round here, tho everyone (volunteers and locals) tell me it’s a very safe area.

  3. […] I love Namuwongo, it’s where I first fell in love with Uganda but I’m sure many Ugandans would shudder hearing that. Like many other Kampala slums, Namuwongo slums have a history: they were a no-go area for many years. It’s no des res (desirable residential) address, that’s for sure, but things are changing. […]

  4. TimePortal says:

    If your home is that castle pictured with an attendant car beside, you are not living in Nam. The excitement and exclamations about the goings-on there are disturbing, like you are going to see mountain gorillas. I’m sure by now you’ve wised up, but who knows.

    Try living in Nam, not 100 meters away from it where you can enjoy the hustle and bustle.

    • the muzungu says:

      I lived in Namuwongo for 2 1/2 years. I loved it. Obviously, my impressions of the place changed over time. I liked visiting the ‘go down’ area of Namuwongo slum, but live there? No one chooses to live down there voluntarily, the majority of these people are refugees or people who have been made homeless. It is not an easy life. I like the energy of the place, but it must be scary as hell at night.
      Looking back five years, here is now what I first make of my initial impressions of Uganda, and how I adjusted. “Life in Uganda: a dog named Baldrick and a mouse in my fridge”

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