Everything Uganda: A Day in the life of a Grasshopper Hawker

Everything Uganda: A Day in the life of a Grasshopper Hawker

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  . . It is always an exciting time for many in Masaka when it’s Grasshopper Season! These flying insects are an extremely popular snack in these parts and we are lucky enough to be taught about the business by Masaka native, Kasule Muhmad, who explains a day in the life of Grasshopper Hawker. . Muhmad has been in the grasshopper business since he was 10 years old after dropping out of school early aged 7. He started as a plucker (where grasshopper legs and wings are removed before they are fried), then became a catcher (grasshoppers are found in places of high vegetation cover) and now he is a hawker, selling the product.  Muhmad wakes at 7AM and does his morning preparations before heading to work where he arrives at 8AM. Once there he has some breakfast whilst waiting for the grasshoppers to be prepared. They are bought early in the morning after catchers have gathered them and then taken to the headquarters of Muhmad’s employers to be plucked and fried. At 12PM they are ready – he and the other hawkers are given buckets (left), which are filled with anywhere between 14 and 20 500ml cups of grasshoppers (pictures above – the orange cup). Muhmad then free walks around Masaka’s business centre where he is stopped by those interested and sells.  With 50 cups of fresh-caught grasshoppers...
Everything Uganda: Buganda’s First Six Months of the Year

Everything Uganda: Buganda’s First Six Months of the Year

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which explores a particular aspect of Ugandan life, to learn more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  . . This week we will be learning the names and meanings of Buganda’s months of the year. The Buganda Kingdom (of which Masaka is a part of) has a proud and rich history that is reflected in their language. A clear example is in the names they give to the 12 months of the year! We start with January that is named Gatonnya. The word ‘Okutonnya‘ in Luganda varies depending on the context it is used in – for example it can mean: raining, dipping or dripping. Green bananas (matooke) are Buganda’s main staple food. January is a peak season for bananas ripening and harvesting, and as those who know how many bananas can come off even one tree can attest; it is no easy task to get them all. Inevitably during this month, the farmers get overwhelmed and it literally starts to “rain” (ie. ‘Okutonnya‘) bananas from the tress. This phenomenon is where the month gets its name!   February is next and is called Mukutulansanja. “Nsanja” are banana leaves. “Okukutula” can be used to mean tear. Having said banana leaves are an important food for Buganda, we find their season ending in this month. The heat of February finds the now post-harvest banana trees and dries them up. The banana fibres that cover the stem of the tree start to whither and peel off, therefore getting torn and serving inspiration for...
Everything Uganda: A Day in the Life of a Masaka Barber

Everything Uganda: A Day in the Life of a Masaka Barber

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  . This week we will be spending the day with a barber in Masaka. Scott Jovic (who prefers to use the same name as he does on social media) is a 20-year-old who has been plying his trade for 2 years now.  It all started for him at High School back in 2016 after realizing there was a high chance, he would soon be unemployed like many others he knew who had completed school.  He started to look around for what to do. The answer came in the form of a friend who was running a saloon near where he stayed. There he began training for a year and a half and picked up a lot of skills and knowledge before starting his own business after completing High School in 2018.  The day begins when Jovic wakes at 8:00 AM. After the usual morning lineup, he is at work by 8:30. He opens up the saloon, turns on the T.V and sweeps the floor. He has breakfast at 9:00 and waits for customers. His first customer that day walks in at 10:40 AM – a middle-aged man he knows by name who gets a trim and hairline shaping in 7 minutes. After this customer, no one walks in till the lunch hour at 1:00 P.M. Ordered from the restaurant two doors over, Jovic eats as he browses his...
Everything Uganda: Katogo!

Everything Uganda: Katogo!

By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  . This week’s topic is Katogo – the Masaka people’s number 1 breakfast order!   To learn more about it we go to Friend’s Point which is a local restaurant and a 2017 Uganda Marathon Charity Project. They start the day early going to the market at 7:00AM to buy the Matooke (green bananas) that make up the main part of the meal.  Katogo has been a meal for as long as anybody can remember. It can be translated into English to mean “Mix” and this is because while it has many variations, they all involve mixing Matooke with something. Matooke can be prepared with beans, meat, fish, peas and groundnut sauce to make Katogo.  Friends Point buys Matooke worth 3,000 shillings (just under 1 U.S dollar) which comes to around 27 bananas for their breakfast dish. On this day it is the Katogo of beans option.   . . After peeling the bananas, they are put in a saucepan that is filled with water, before putting it on the fire. The left-over beans from the previous day are then added to the newly soft bananas about 20 minutes later. For flavour, two onions, two tomatoes and a green pepper are cut and fried with vegetable oil in a separate saucepan. They are added to the boiling banana and beans mix, along with salt and curry powder, and then left to...
Everything Uganda: The Pearl of Africa

Everything Uganda: The Pearl of Africa

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  This week we feature a poem, kindly written by Lisa Nabuchabo, which gives us insight into what the Pearl of Africa, her home country, means to her. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama and Film in Kampala – the country’s capital city.  . The Pearl of Africa.   Draped leaves rustle their way towards a blessed Motherland.   The lavish green runs far and wide across a nation dipped in the glory of diversity. It shines through the eyes of its people,  A light that kisses you like the morning sun  Perched in reflection, mirrored in perfection Looking nature straight in the eyes in gratitude.   A land of growth where even stories are cultivated and sprout to remind us who we are. We feed and nurture them in quest for our place to remain home and indeed it is home. It is the pearl that Africa continues to wear around her neck, a beauty that never gets weary.   A land where peace settles at the entrance of a house as our farmers leave at dusk, With assurance of returning with fruitful harvest.   Draped leaves rustle their way towards a blessed Motherland.   A Mother who’s wild is wild enough to live life like in a banquet on the savannah, Where wildlife brings our culture to life,  We are one with...
Everything Uganda: Independence Day

Everything Uganda: Independence Day

By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  . This week the country held its most special of holidays on October 9th, Independence Day!  Uganda peacefully gained Independence in 1962 and celebrated its 57th birthday this week on Wednesday. A lot has happened since the country’s conception – let’s view a summary.  The country has had 9 leaders in the years since independence with the shortest reign lasting just 10 days under Paulo Muwanga and the longest reign still running at 33 years on under His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. The population has grown massively from 7,240,000 in 1962 to 44,658,252 according to latest U.N numbers in 2019, with the median age put at 16 years. The numbers have grown in spite of the fall in birth rate from 7.04 children per woman to 5.59 births per woman.  . . While a lot has changed, some things have also stayed the same. For example, as it was in 1962, Agriculture is still the country’s biggest earner and employer, and accounts for about 40% of Gross Domestic Product. Uganda is the African continent’s second-biggest exporter of coffee. Uganda is still a country rich in tradition and the customs of many of tribes that were present for Independence are still going strong today. Kampala has stayed the capital city since Independence and is a part of Buganda Kingdom.     Masaka, Uganda and Buganda The Masaka District, where the...
The Uganda Marathon Project Selection Process

The Uganda Marathon Project Selection Process

The Uganda Marathon is not just an event that happens for one week of the year. It is a year-round charity with a full-time team – working tirelessly with projects and the local community to ensure that every pound and dollar raised through the race supports those in Uganda that need it most. Our mission is to alleviate poverty in rural Uganda. Together, we are helping local community organisations to be self-sufficient through revenue generating, and cost-saving initiatives. What this means is that rather than funding a single school lunch for a child, we fund an income-generating or cost-saving project (like a small farm, or solar power), which will generate/save enough money to pay for a lifetime of school lunches. Every year, we work with local community leaders to identify the projects that would most benefit from your support. There are so many incredible projects in Uganda that work in the community, choosing the final 15 is a monumental task! This is why we have worked to create the fairest, most transparent system for choosing the projects that are supported for each event. We are a registered NGO in Uganda – The Masaka Marathon – and a UK-registered charity – The Uganda Foundation – which means that every pound or dollar you fundraise is accounted for, and our team work tirelessly to make sure you leave the biggest legacy possible. As part of our dedication to being transparent, would like to share our system for choosing the 15 Uganda Marathon partner projects: The Application Process This is your legacy! In order to select the best projects we follow a...
Interview with a UGM Runner – Tamas Farkas

Interview with a UGM Runner – Tamas Farkas

Here we interview runners who have participated in the Uganda Marathon, so they can share their stories and experiences from the 7-Day Adventure. After all, it’s their involvement which makes the week so special, from the impact they have on the Charity Projects, to the community feel they give to Race Day. Tamas heard about the Uganda Marathon after two of his friends participated in the 2017 and 2018 event. Keen to make some changes in his life, he signed up to the adventure to give himself a big challenge and some inspiration…     1. What made you sign up to the Uganda Marathon and was it what you expected? I was inspired by my friends, Levi and Szilvi, who went to Uganda in 2017 and 2018. I signed up to the Uganda Marathon 2019 because I needed a strong goal to make some changes. I lived in London at that time but wasn’t happy. I wanted to move from UK but I couldn’t. I felt stuck. I had no idea where to go and what to do. The registration and the marathon training gave me the power to rebuild myself and find the way of my future life. The whole marathon was how I expected. I am on a new path of living – I left the UK. I met a girl I love. I completed my Personal Trainer course. I finished the 9-5 job. My photography started to be more than a hobby. I’m now doing a 200 hours yoga teacher course in India.   2. Which project did you choose to support, and what was...
Everything Uganda: A Day in the Life of a Bodaboda Rider

Everything Uganda: A Day in the Life of a Bodaboda Rider

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  . . This week we will be looking into a day in the life of a taxi motorcyclist in Masaka. The bike system that ensures people get from point A to point B as quickly as possible is commonly known as “Bodaboda”. The name is thought to originate from the bordering towns of Uganda and Kenya, which used the bikes as a cheap way to ferry people and goods between the two countries.  Kafuma Edwin is 35 years old and has been riding bodas for 15 years. Having ended school very early, he entered the family business of coffee trading. Given that trading season in the coffee business only runs for 4 months of the year, a young Edwin needed something else to bring in an income, so he started riding motorcycles.  . Edwin’s day begins at 7 AM. After preparing for the day he is out of the house and on the road and parked at his main stage (where he waits for customers – see left) by 7:45 AM. His first few customers provide the money for breakfast, which he buys from passing roadside food sellers while on his bike at the stage. He rides all day but always aims to have lunch around 1 PM. For lunch, he goes to a local eatery. It is the rainy season in Masaka right now so this is...
EVERYTHING UGANDA: MASAKA’S OLDEST SPORTS CLUB

EVERYTHING UGANDA: MASAKA’S OLDEST SPORTS CLUB

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other.  . . Today we are going to look at Masaka’s oldest sports club named ‘Masaka Sports Club’. Located on Hill Road just up the road from our Athletes’ Village, Masaka Sports Club was founded in Uganda’s colonial period and has had its gates open ever since.    Speaking with Dr. Hadijah Matovu To help learn more about this place and its recent history, I spoke to the Club’s manager Dr. Hadijah Matovu. Having grown up in Masaka, this was the only Sports Club Hadijah knew about in the area. The place carried an air of exclusivity and so few who weren’t members made their way through the open gates. The members of the club were the corporates, upper-level civil servants, doctors and other people of note in Masaka. They enjoyed the privileges of the club as they bonded in the evenings and weekends.   She joined in 2009 on the invitation of her husband (himself a State Attorney) who was a member from before. The Club offers games like lawn tennis, table tennis, badminton, pool and football.  Over the years the Club’s image has changed with more youth coming in and using the Club’s grounds for football especially. This change is further emphasised with the fall in member numbers which stood at 20 as per 2019, meaning the club has become more open.   “Many corporates are choosing to run...
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