Independence day is tomorrow and it dawned on me that it has only mattered to me when it has fallen on a workday, so there’d be no work. So when a workmate asked, “what are we celebrating anyway?”, I decided to remember why I love the country of my origin.
A quick poll at the office to answer the question, why do you love Uganda has revealed the top five below.
- The people – Uganda is famous for its people. In 2017, a survey by BBC among expatriates ranked Uganda as the friendliest place. Words like “welcoming” and “easy to make friends” and “hospitable” are readily used when referring to Ugandans.
Uganda is also blessed with diversity. There are an estimated 52 tribes residing in Uganda, each with their own customs that are still practiced to this day. And with numerous lingual influences, it is no wonder that we have developed Uglish (Ugandan English), our own version of English. Uglish has since been put into a dictionary.
- The food – Ugandan cuisine consists of traditional and modern cooking styles, practices, foods, and dishes in Uganda, with English, Arab, and Asian (especially Indian) influences. There is something for everyone, no matter what you like and no matter the budget. Distinctly Ugandan food like rolex and katogo are readily available on the street and in restaurants.
- The party – If you have spent any amount of time here, then it is no surprise that this is number 3. Ugandans love a good party. There is no shortage of “plot” both in the day and night–be it a music festival, a house party, a food expo, silent disco or drinks at the local bar. You can party till morning and in the comfort of your home too. The best part, you can have food and alcohol delivered to your doorstep by Jumia.
- The land and wildlife – on top of the people, Uganda is blessed with beautiful lands and scenery. From the highlands of Kigezi to the flat plains of Karamoja, one word ties it all together, beautiful. And the best part is, it’s not too costly to travel around. With initiatives like UG Travel month, aimed at encouraging local tourism, there’s a package for everyone. Some of the most popular things to do are gorilla trekking — the critically endangered mountain gorilla thrives in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Park, and of the 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world, Uganda is home to at least 400 of these.
Other gems include water sports like rafting and kayaking, along the Nile.
Did you know that about one-quarter of Uganda’s surface is made up of lakes and rivers?!
- The cost of living – With everything Uganda has to offer, it is a very affordable country to live in. According to living index website numbeo.com, consumer prices in Uganda are 24.21% lower than in Kenya, yet in Rwanda, they are 10.25% higher than in Uganda.
With all this said, go forth and celebrate the independence of the Pearl of Africa.
By Caroline Ampaire