COVID-19: A Different Masaka

COVID-19: A Different Masaka

. By Eric Barigye We welcome you to a special edition of our weekly blog that will be looking at how the lives of the people of Masaka have changed since government measures were introduced in response to COVID-19. To do this, I interviewed shop owner Musa Kamoga (from a distance) who has been serving customers since 2013. Uganda confirmed its first Corona case on March 22nd. As of 1st April the number of cases has risen to 33. The President has announced a number of measures to curb the spread of the virus across the country. The most impactful ones to the Masaka community include: A 14-day 7 pm curfew across the country with effect from Tuesday 31st March. Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. All non-food shops (and stores) must close. Only shops selling food, agricultural products, veterinary products, detergents and pharmaceuticals may remain open. The Government has banned all people to people movement, including those using their private vehicles, bodabodas, rickshaws (tuk-tuks), etc.   Hearing from a local business owner “I first heard of the Coronavirus from the radio in December when it was affecting China. It seemed so far away.” Musa says. His shop is one of the few open in the area of Masaka known as Katwe. The shop sells things such as beverages, snacks, soaps, detergents, cooking oil, sugar, rice and lots more. “I noticed a change last week. People began buying in bulk even with the price changes.” Prices of rice, oil, sugar, and most notably salt, has seen a 100% price rise from 600 shillings to 1200 shillings since...
Everything Uganda: Trees of Masaka Part 3

Everything Uganda: Trees of Masaka Part 3

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog that focuses on a particular aspect to learn more about the people and place that play host to our Adventure Like No Other! This week, we conclude the Trees of Masaka series! . If you missed the previous entries, you can find them here: Part 1 and Part 2. This week we are going with an all edible fruit tree line up. Luckily, you’ll find them all in season on your arrival to Uganda! . . .   ... Jackfruit Tree Starting with the Artocarpus heterophyllus better known as Fene in Luganda and Jackfruit in English. Something that will surprise even Ugandans is that this tree actually originates from Asia, probably in the forests of the Western Ghats in India and is said to have been introduced to Uganda as late as the 1940s! It’s a medium-sized tree with thick branches, to 25 meters, and it produces a white gummy liquid when injured. Of course, the most popular use is the big sweet fruit it produces (hence the name) but the latex from the trunk and branches have resins that are valuable in varnishes as well. The latex is commonly used as adhesive for mending broken chinaware or earthenware, caulking boats, mending holes of buckets and trapping birds. It can serve as a substitute for rubber. . . . Avocado Tree Next, we have Persea Americana which is Avocado in English.  In Uganda, it’s grown in all moist areas. It has a densely leafy evergreen medium and grows to 9-20 meters in height. Besides providing the fruit we all know...
Everything Uganda: From Your Projects – A Day in the Life of a Farmer

Everything Uganda: From Your Projects – A Day in the Life of a Farmer

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog that explores a particular aspect of Uganda life, to learn more about the people, place and Charity Projects which host our Adventure Like No Other. This week we return to the projects and beneficiaries being supported by the 2021 event! . Masaka Youth Development Association was started in 2013 for and by the youth community of Ssaza to combat the poverty and unemployment in the area. They are now looking to expand to nearby areas with the help of members like Solomon Kigoye.  Having joined after learning of MAYDAS through a friend in 2014, Solomon has risen to the committee position of treasurer. From a family of farmers, he joined shortly after his A-Levels when he went full time into farming and luckily MAYDAS was there to give him the capital he needed to grow his scale.  . . Solomon’s Day Solomon wakes at 6:00 AM and after early morning preparations, he leaves his house for the shamba. March is the beginning of the wet season here in Uganda and this is the time farmers plant their seeds as can be gleaned here.  Solomon himself is planting maize and beans on the 1.5-acre land his family owns.  He tilled it recently and so the holes he has to put the seeds are prepared. He practices intercropping of beans and maize by putting 3 of each type in the same hole before covering it with soil. He does this because of the small size of the plantation as well as the cost he saves when fertilizing. He tells me the...
Everything Uganda: Trees of Masaka Part 2

Everything Uganda: Trees of Masaka Part 2

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog that focuses on a particular aspect to learn more about the place, people and this week – continuing with the trees that colour our Adventure Like No Other! . If you did not catch the first entry of this series please find it here. . . .   ... Budongo Mahogany We begin with Entandrophragma Angolense or Mukusu in Luganda and Budongo Mahogany in English. This tree is indigenous to Uganda growing along forest edges and in thickets. It is a very large deciduous tree to 50 m with a deep crown and dense foliage. Providing good shed it is also used as an ornamental tree. The wood is highly valued for exterior and interior joinery, furniture, cabinetwork, veneer and plywood, and is also used for flooring, interior trim, panelling, stairs, shipbuilding and coffins. The seeds have a fat content of about 60% which makes them rich in cis-vaccenic acid, an oleic acid isomer that can be used in the industrial production of nylon-11. Sadly this tree has been overharvested in Uganda and is now nearly extinct. . . . . . East African Satin Wood Next, we see Zanthoxylum Gilletii (Fagara Macrophylla) or Munyenye in Luganda and East African Satin Wood in English. In Uganda, it grows in tropical rain forests, especially in lower- and medium-altitude forests. Growing between 10 and 35m this trees’ timber is heavy, yellow-white, sweet-scented, tough and easily worked. The trade name “satinwood” comes from the bright shiny appearance of the polished timber. The bark is used to treat cough. The seed coat contains an...
Everything Uganda: From Your Projects – A Day in the Life of a School Cook

Everything Uganda: From Your Projects – A Day in the Life of a School Cook

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog that explores a particular aspect of Uganda life, to learn more about the people, place and Charity Projects which host our Adventure Like No Other. This week we return to the projects being supported by the 2020 event! . Bugabira Primary School is our oldest and longest-running partner! This school and its pupils have been part of the 7-Day Adventure since the beginning, with runners continuing to fundraise for their causes. Starting in 2015 with poultry and solar projects, then a kitchen in 2016, followed by a classroom block, toilets and playground area in 2017, and a staff accommodation block in 2018, our International Runner’s golden legacy is clearly seen on this hill in Masaka. You may also recognize the school uniform – below big smiling faces – from the personalized welcome photos we share soon after you sign up! Meet the 37-year-old school cook Mr. Kasirye Peter! Having joined the school almost a decade ago, Peter was born, raised, and currently lives less than a 20-minute walk away from the school. He makes this walk every morning at 7:00 AM for the school day.  . Peter’s Day Upon arrival at about 7:30 AM Peter begins with washing his 6 saucepans of varying sizes. After they are clean, Peter gets two separate fire stones going. With his experience, it takes him mere minutes to get the wood that sits in between 4 stones burning!  He sets the biggest pan first on the fire and fills it with 140 litres of water. He then sits another pan on the second...
Everything Uganda: Trees of Masaka Part 1

Everything Uganda: Trees of Masaka Part 1

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog that explores a particular aspect of Uganda life, to learn more about the people, place, and this week – the trees that surround our Adventure Like No Other!  . Uganda has lots of trees! Some numbers put forest and woodland cover in the country at 49,000 km² or 24% of the total land area. These trees are of a very wide variety because they are found in different habitats such as open water systems, wetlands, dry forest, woodland, thicket, bushland and even semi-arid parts. Today, however, we are going to focus on trees in our locale, Masaka. Let’s get started! . . . Umbrella Tree We begin with the Maesopsis Eminii (pictured left and above), which is known as “Musizi” in Luganda and Umbrella Tree in English. Indigenous to Uganda, this large tree grows in low moist tropical forests. It is a leafy semi-deciduous tree between 10-30 meters. It often has a clear bole (the trunk of the tree) to 10 m, and horizontal branches, with the crown flattened when young but becoming more rounded with age, creating the umbrella shape. Usually used as a shade tree in coffee, tea, cocoa and cardamom plantations, its leaves are used as fodder for animals. The bark makes good roofing material. The wood is used in light constructions for items such as boxes and crates, millwork, plywood or core stock. The tree also provides fuelwood and charcoal. . . Back Cloth Fig Tree Next we look at the Ficus Natalensis known as “Mutuba” in Luganda and Back Cloth Fig in English. With...
With great sadness, we are postponing the 2020 Uganda Marathon to May 2021.Read our full update here
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