Day 3, Sunday 14.06.15

This day was a day full of organizational meetings with Dr. Kawooya. He organized a meeting with the woman who owns the motel I am staying here in Masaka. Due to their experiences there had been a lot trouble with white foreigners. They explained me how the mentality of the people around and gave me also some advice, that I should not go further with a girl, because there is a high probability, that she will steal something or everything from me. Even as a German student I have got in this place an enormous buying power and their daily income is very low and around 2-3 dollar. Also they told me to be aware of all those parties around, because if I am drunk it´s also a big security issue. I told them, that I am here for work or better to say social entrepreneurship and there is to gain some impact on my stay here the first priority – so no alcohol or girls, even if I had an interest in that.

After that we had an appointment with Julius. He works for an NPO called Plantwise and he is a plant doctor. If any farmer has trouble with pests/diseases or similar issues, Julius supports them. We agreed, that he shows me in the next days all steps of the supply chain. I pleased him to not make something up for me. I want to experience everything as it is and do not want to see only the bright piece of everything.

Dr. Kowooya took me to his work place in a private clinic, where some patients were waiting for him. After that we finally bought a Ugandan SIM card for me, that I can cheaper access the internet or communicate with others here in Uganda. Then we picked up Emmanuel (everybody calls him just Emma here) from the Masaka taxi park. After some minutes of introduction Dr. Kawooya left and then Emma I exchanged our backgrounds. He explained me everything about CITES, the social enterprise of Dr. Kawooya Emma works for. Since one year there is also a Consortium between CITES and four other companies. The consortium is called Akorion (www.akorion.com) and the company cares about farmers and wants to engage youths back into agriculture. Their plan beside others is to employ 1000 young people in local areas. With using the data of the Esoko (www.esoko.com) software they earn money and help farmers in the same time. Besides that they are working on solutions which enable farmers to save money in a local community to invest in new materials or machinery (i.e. motorcycles).

Emma is a great teacher for Luganda, the local language which is common in the Buganda Kingdom. My first words in Luganda:

Gyebaleko sebbo – How are you doing, sir? (After 11 am)

The answer: Kale sebbo – Ok, Sir!

Wasuze otya – How was the night? (Before 11am)

The answer: Bulungi sebbo – Good, Sir!

Day 2, Saturday 13.06.15

I got up around 8 am to withdraw some money from my bank account. Again I tried the ATM at another Barclays Branch (because it’s the most western bank here) with my MasterCard. You see, what’s coming up, right? The bank opened at 9 am, and then after seeing the Windows 98 booting screen again, I finally got my MasterCard back. Then I tried inside with both my debit and credit card – no success. I went back to my hotel and waited for Moses then we tried together at several other banks – no success – and also asked in a big 5 star hotel if they can transfer me money, but they didn´t even want to try. Life goes on, so changed my whole dollars to Ugandan Shillings. We took boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) to the matatu park. At the Matatu Park we searched for a matatu (old Toyota bus with 14 seats, most times more than 14 people inside) to Masaka. After some minutes we found one and after 20 minutes waiting for more passengers we finally started our road trip. On the way they added even more passengers to the matatu as it is usual here. So the freedom in the very little bus decreased continuously.

Moses together with me in the matatu

After a 2.5 hour journey we finally arrived in Masaka and met Dr. Kawooya, who is a medical doctor, but is also the founder of the social enterprise CITES (http://www.citesuganda.com/). CITES and Smartlink have a lot in common, so there is a great potential for working together. Dr. Kawooya organized that one of his employees, Emma, will assist me during my stay in Masaka and he organized my whole program during the week.

My first Ugandan meal: beef, matooke (cooked bananas, different from the sweet), rice, eggplants and semolina
My first Ugandan meal: beef, matooke (cooked bananas, different from the sweet), rice, eggplants and semolina

Day 1, Friday 12.06.15

I’m arriving in Dubai at 6:30 am local time and my connecting flight takes off at 9:00 am. I was searching in Dubai and while the following flight to Entebbe for Moses, our man for supporting us locally, because he wrote me an email that he is returning to Uganda from a stay in Brazil earlier than expected and is currently also in Dubai. He is working for both, governmental and private sector projects. Sadly I didn’t find him, but it turned out later that we were as close as 4 rows together in the plane.

Just arrived in Dubai
Just arrived in Dubai

Both flights went well for me – thanks to Jonas in this case for his tips regarding my problems with ear pressure balance during flights. I arrived around 1:30 pm in Uganda. First bad thing happened: my MasterCard got stuck in the Barclays ATM at the airport. I got it back after 15 minutes, they rebooted the ATM. I had some dollars and some euros, so I decided to only change the euros which I definitely cannot use in Uganda, because of the very bad exchange rate of 1:3100 /3600:1. That’s more or less a 14% spread!!!

Road between Entebbe and Kampala
Road between Entebbe and Kampala

From Entebbe Airport to Kampala I took an airport taxi and we got – how it is nearly usual around and in Kampala – into a big traffic jam. On the trip we saw a motorcycle transporting pineapples: with ropes the driver attached around 100 pineapples to his motorcycle. He was driving up a hill and was paddling with his feet to get the hill faster up than 1 mile per hour. I arrived in the Hotel City Square at 4pm and I automatically fell asleep at 6 pm as the sun was going down.

 

View from my room at Hotel City Square
View from my room at Hotel City Square

Sadly Moses wanted to pick me up during my spontaneous sleep. Nevertheless we met then around 9pm and discussed the schedule and strategic framework for my stay. The hotel was from price/return view very good: placed in the city centre, own bathroom and free and fast wifi (Skype and FaceTime were including video possible). There were some holes in the moskito net but I brought an own one with me (thanks for borrowing, Alina).

Day 0, Thursday 11.06.15

Today is that day. Today my journey starts. At 10:30 pm my plane takes off from Munich airport. I think I am well prepared. Everything I could need is stored in my backpacker. Ready for Africa, ready for Uganda.

My plane to Dubai
My plane to Dubai

I also asked my self again for getting the right mindset for my trip: why I go there, what I want to achieve?
We had developed with the hole Smartlink Team on the one side a lot hypothesis how agricultural production and supply chain works in developing countries and on the other side we came up with certain ideas and solutions how to improve the current situation. We want to reduce food waste in the supply chain and help changing to more environmentally friendly processes at same time lower cost. The big aim in dimensions of human beings is to help farmers to gain more profits and the final food customer to pay less. The average spending in food to average income ratio is from an economic perspective to high and should decline for a better economic welfare and increased spending in products produced by the secondary and tertiary sector.