Sounds of Kampala

 As I said in my first post, I don’t often have reliable internet access here, so I have been writing blog posts offline, so that I can add them here when I get chance.

From Monday 21st July

Today started slowly with waiting at the house to see if I would be able to get a lift to a town in the north of Uganda called Gulu with one of jez’s colleagues. Unfortunately this was not possible, so I went into town for lunch and to expore the city on foot.  Walking into town was fascinating, particularly considering the differences  between Kampala and an English town. There are all sorts of things I could write about, but I think I will write about the things I have heard in Kampala. 

It is impossible to walk very far in Kampala without being offered a taxi. So the first sounds are these offers of taxis and the incesant beeping as a result of chaotic roads and very impatient taxi drivers. Taxis come in 3 forms; special hire, minibus taxis and boda-bodas. Special hire are the most similar to the sort of taxi you would find in Europe. They are also the most expensive.  Minibus taxis follow a set route and are shared by up to 14 people. They stand out for being white with a band of light blue squares horizontally round the middle and are well known for their bad driving. It seems that these taxis account for about 25% of the vehicles on the roads.Finally, the most unusual type of taxi are the boda-bodas. There are hundreds of them in the centre. 10 or more on busy strret corners. They probably account for as much as 50% of all vehicles. They consist of a moped, where the single passenger rides behind the driver. For this reason, they are the cheapest, but also the most dangerous for of transport.

The second sound is the birds. According to my guide book there are 1008 species in Uganda. Some of the at least mae a lot of noise. The are a few near the house which sound more lie monies than birds. There are also some huge birds, 1.5m tall, which circle high above the city and look a bit like pterodactyls.

The final sounds relate to thing people say to me as a white person. Children in particular are fond of waving and saying “how are you?” to passing white people. Often the word muzungu is used to refer to white people. Its possibly best not to wonder what the literal translation might be, but its all completely harmless and everyone here is very friendly!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.