Some of us have been to some foreign countries in Asia, but we have never felt weve been to a real foreign country before, because people’s physical appearances and their cultures have been similar to our own. However, after arriving in Uganda, we realized we were in a different world.
About 7:30 pm on May 8th, we sat on the plane, and I felt that it was like another new world. Most passengers were black people, and so were the flight attendants. I sat there, and I found that hundreds of different eyes from other passengers focused on us for several seconds and then moved, which made me feel that I was a foreigner for the first time. Read the rest of this entry »
Debbie introduces herself with her Chinese name “De Bi,” although she just began to learn the language several weeks ago. Although she is only a 22 year-old Ugandan from a small town Makindye, she knows well Meng Jiangnu’s “Bitter Weeping,” a romance story set at the Great Wall in Qin Dynasty.
“I really love Chinese. I hope I can go to China someday and communicate with them in Chinese,” she said.
A Ugandan employee of a small Chinese company on Williams Street in Kampala carries the child of his employer, as another man passes by in the crowded street.
There is no “Chinatown” in Kampala, but Williams Street has a growing cluster of Chinese shops. Also, Chinese are a very new Asian guest in Uganda, Compared with Indians and Japanese. But when we walked along Williams Street, people smiled at us, said or shouted ,”Ni hao, China!” So our individual names have disappeared and all of our group members’ names are “China.” Yes, I am China; we are welcomed here.
Looked at in one way, the story of modern political Africa is the story of powerful ethnic groups and how those ethnic groups have adapted to the national boundaries that were largely forced upon them by colonial powers.
In Uganda, the largest and most powerful tribe is the Buganda nation, making up nearly 20% of a nation of 28 million. Uganda, Swahili for Buganda, became the name of the country. Kampala and the area around it make up the historical area of the Buganda kingdom. The kings of Uganda came from the Buganda nation, and the tribe still has a great deal of power.
The current president, however, Yoweri Museveni is a member of the Nyankole nation, and currently there is a dispute over land between the Buganda and the national government.
The Kasubi Tombs, traditional palace and burial place of the Buganda kings. Currently there are four kings buried beneath the main structure, featured here.
The doorkeeper of the Kasubi Tombs. Read the rest of this entry »
There are seven hills in Kampala. Nearly every hilltop is occupied by some fantastic architectures which represent different parts of Ugandan culture. For instance, the Bahai temple in Kampala is the only one in the whole Africa. What was more surprising was the great gap between rich and poor which exists in the top and bottom of the hills. The top of the hills are seemed like peaceful paradises. However, when we arrived in some flat areas, the markets turned noisy and the traffic was chaotic because there weren’t any traffic lights there. Most flat areas are inhabited by poorer people. Read the rest of this entry »
KAMPALA, Uganda — Our journey to Africa is just one day old and already our students are finding, to their delight, that journalism is all about new discoveries and interesting people.
The printouts from three months of Internet research that preceded this African adventure remain buried in their suitcases as the students breathe in the wonders of an environment so different from their own, but also so familiar. Read the rest of this entry »
Not the kind of signpost you see every day…
After six hours on a bus, eight hours on a plane to Dubai, another six hours to Nairobi, a nearly missed flight, another hour to Entebbe, and many hours in airports… the Shantou U J-school Africa class has arrived in Uganda!
The group has arrived (and more or less collapsed) at the Speke Hotel, a 1930s style outpost of elegance, in the center of Kamapla.
Despite the exhaustion, spirits are very high. On the bus ride into town, there were cheers from the students at every sign with “Uganda” written on it.
And no wonder. Initial impressions are of a stunning country — green rolling hills over Georgia-red clay, with Lake Victoria always in the backdrop somewhere.
We will rest and recover this afternoon, then begin to explore later today…