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Sir Winston Churchill’s pearls of wisdom about Uganda

Apr 15 • 1077 views • 9 Comments Diary of a Muzungu, Travel, Uganda

Sir Winston Churchill famously said of Uganda:

“Uganda is the Pearl of Africa.”

I wonder what he would make of how often the 21st-century Ugandan tourist industry quotes his words? At Entebbe airport, visitors are invited to fill in immigration forms proudly stating “welcome to the Pearl of Africa.”

But another more general quote of his, that I came across by accident last week, that resonates even more with me in Uganda.

Despite the wall-to-wall Technicolor blue skies, endless radiant green fields and plantations, the vibrant red earth and even more vibrant Ugandan people, working in a developing country can really test your patience:

Power that ‘chucks’ (computers flick on and off at work and every other evening we’re without electricity),

the dust,

slow Internet with frequent service interruptions (which stupid ba#t$rd has dropped an anchor on the cable under the Indian Ocean disconnecting the WHOLE of East Africa this time?)

bureaucracy that makes you want to bang head against the wall (or bang someone’s head anyway),

the dust,

37° in the middle of the day and you’re stuck to the plastic seat of your car in another unnecessary traffic jam,

swerving to avoid the crater-like potholes that reappear after every heavy rainfall, mosquitoes,

workers who are too busy reading the daily paper from cover to cover to notice that you’re waiting to be served,

lack of recycling facilities (man, that irks me),

not a Prêt a Manager or M&S Food in sight (!)

the dust,

mobile phone networks that charge you for your SMS but don’t deliver them,

blood-boiling evangelicals who blast me with bullshit as I’m stuck in rush-hour traffic,

corrupt traffic police who are too busy pocketing money for school fees to help us get to work on time,

taxi drivers who double their fare just because you’re a Muzungu,

people at conferences and training programs insisting on per diems (attendance fees).

I could go on …

Walking the streets of London’s Camden Town last week, the words of a postcard in a shop jumped out at me:

Sir Winston Churchill's pearls of wisdom about Uganda. Sir Winston Churchill Uganda

Winston Churchill had plenty to say about Uganda and called the country the Pearl of Africa. Elsewhere he wrote “NEVER NEVER NEVER Give Up” – he never had to contend with Umeme (electricity) or MTN (mobile phones) though!

 Sir, you saved me. I’m more indebted to you than you could possibly imagine.

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9 Responses to Sir Winston Churchill’s pearls of wisdom about Uganda

  1. Kat says:

    Haha…glad to hear you’re coping withlife in our Uganda. Everything here is as you say it is. I remember that internet fiasco! It enraged me no end. And the umeme! I remember sending in email complaining (not my first) to which, once again, they replied by giving me a call to explain. I was fascinated, I had never expected Our own umeme to actually have a customer service team. Not that they gave me back my power. Lately it’s been steady, though. I haven’t had my power go off in ages! shocker.

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Kat thanks for your comment. Well, I MOSTLY cope with life in Uganda – I do go a bit nuts occasionally! but I find a tot or two of Uganda Waragi normally sorts things out ;)

  2. lizziema says:

    I accidentally posted to FB! What I said was I have visited and know that you are not exaggerating and look at the conditions for you as being like struggling around in a pot of glue. Well done you, but also well done Ugandans who have made so much progress in recent years, despite the conditions.

    • the muzungu says:

      Uganda is certainly on the up … but could and should be doing better by now. Interesting debate with Spain this week “Spain is not Uganda” said their Prime Minsiter. Well, actually Uganda has positive growth and Spain has none…

  3. Franklin says:

    Uganda is indeed the pearl of Africa. where else can u observe lions prowling in the open plain in the morning and track chimps that same afternoon before staring into the eyes of the mountain gorilla the following day?
    as for Spain’s Prime Minister, he doesn’t know any better.

    • the muzungu says:

      I have a feeling the Spanish PM must know a lot more about Uganda after last week’s comment! Maybe we should invite him to come visit? Mind you, he probably can’t afford the airfare…

  4. budoto willy says:

    Yah, that’s Uganda, my Country, my home. Oh, how I LOVE IT. Once I lived somewhere else where things were much better in that aspect, but it wasn’t home. We have come a long way and are still going, when all seems to be frustrating, don’t loose your cool… soon you realize there is no need to! life goes on.

  5. […] My life in Uganda has stretched me beyond compare, and sometimes I have failed – you or myself – but whoever said it was going to be easy? […]

  6. […] Blogging is my personal space when things in my life don’t work out the way I want them to. […]

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