Once upon a time in Milan
This is me, few days before leaving Milan at EXPO 2015, Uganda “small pavilion”.
More than ready to leave the easy living and the wealthy Milan, looking forward to meeting this amazing country called UGANDA.
1st and 2nd of July 2015
Super excited. It’s time to fly!
10.30 pm: I was leaving Malpensa Airport (Milan, Italy), heading to Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar) on a super cool plane. Then, after 6 hours flight and few hours spent in the middle of the desert in Qatar, I took a two-destinations “Ryanair format plane” heading to Entebbe-Kigali. Yes… that’s strange. Same flight, two destinations! People directed to Rwanda and Uganda are so many that we can use the same flight like a bus with two stops.
Fun facts: On the plane I met a Japanese guy that was going to stay for one week in Rwanda just to taste I don’t know how many different types of coffee in about 40 different coffee farms! He was working for a Japanese coffee company and he told me he was able to taste and recognise about 100 different types of coffee. He also showed me a coffee palette (like those commonly used for colours) to explain me that there are many types of coffes with different tastes based on where the coffee plants are grown. For example, if there are many banana’s trees near the plantation, the coffee will have a banana taste! Don’t ask me how is it possible because I don’t know!
Anyway, after another 5 hours and half long flight in a super narrow plane with no space for legs, and without sleeping, I landed in Uganda. Entebbe Airport is a really small airport but is not so bad. It’s just that my first impression was the impression of someone that is landed in Africa since few minutes and doesn’t know anything about it. Everything looks totally different and strange.
Once out of the airport, after having paid 100$ for the ugandan visa (they increased the price on the 1st of July, just on time for my arrival), I had to meet the driver that was going to take me to Jinja town. I recognised him from the t-shirt with the name of the transport company “Pineapple Express” where express it’s just to joke because we took about 5 hours to get to Jinja which is less than 130 km far from the airport. A group of highschool UK students joined me on the van (I had to wait an hour at the airport because of them) and toghether we started our journey in Uganda. During the trip I was staring at everything outside of the window. Everything was so different. I was somehow scared about that poverty and the living conditions I could see from there.
So, my first pictures of Uganda were taken on the road to Jinja and from that window.
This is how the main road is. Long and straight, up and down, and with many matatu (the local taxi).
Another picture taken I don’t know where, maybe in one of the small cities in beetween.
Then, we passed through Kampala the capital city of Uganda. Passing through Kampala means that you are stuck in the traffic for hours.
Those are the typical boda-boda, the motorcycle taxi where 5 people can sit with no problems and where you can carry almost everything (don’t ask me how many things I have seen on a boda, they can really carry everything on it, like goats, wheel chairs, kayaks, and many other things).
To avoid the terrible traffic we then took a shortcut, which means taking secondary dusty and uneven roads.
With kids walking in the dust while coming back from school.
With cows eating on the top of the rubbish.
And with handmade red bricks on the roadside.
During the rest of the trip I was probably sleeping.
We then arrived to Bujagali, the village where I had to stay, around 8.30 pm. It was already dark since more than one hour. And the thing that was most scaring me was to enter my new room in the dark, without checking every possible and terrible insect residing there or in my bed.
Just to notice: I was staying in a local family house, Mama Flo’s house. She was the owner of the house and the woman who was taking care of every tourist or volunteer that was staying there.
I arrived at Flo’s house just on time for dinner. I joined a big group of high school students from southern London that were volunteering there. My first dinner there? Oh my God. I was too much focused on dissecting and inspecting every part of the food that if I think about it now, I can just laugh at me. But that was only the first day. I had a 5 beds room just for me. Plenty of space. So I chose the bigger bed for me and the next one to put all my stuffs on it. Try to imagine how long it took me to fall asleep during the first night, I was so scared about mosquitos bites (because of malaria) and other insects coming to bed with me. I put only “few” spruts of mosquito repellent and I was ready to go to bed and sleep over the blanket, just because I couldn’t check properly the inside (…) because it was dark (I was so stupid really).
It was a difficult and very long night. I was really happy and scared at the same time. Me, alone, in a bed in the middle of Uganda, starting a new adventure. That was so exciting. I went to bed like everyone else at around 10 pm and at around 5-6 am I was awake due to the strong need to pee I had because I was scared to use the latrine in the garden during the night, joint to the fact that Mama Flo’s dog was barking at someone in the middle of the night. But the day after is another story which is going to be every day more beautiful.
So, for the first day in Uganda, that’s all folks. I end with a stupid picture of me taken in bed during my first night, with my night best friend, my torch.