Everything Uganda: Birds of Masaka, Part 2

Everything Uganda: Birds of Masaka, Part 2

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog that explores a particular aspect of Uganda life, to learn more about the people and place that play host to our Adventure Like No Other! This week, we continue to look at the wildlife of Masaka… . If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can find it here. This week our guide Wycliffe tells us more about the birds he shows the International Runners during 2-3 hour walk through the town, spotting wildlife, during the week. These are some of the birds which can be seen: . Starting with the one pictured above, which is the Red-eyed Speckled Pigeon or (African) Rock Pigeon, it is a pigeon that is a resident breeding bird in much of Africa, south of the Sahara. It is a common and widespread species in open habitats over much of its range, although there are sizable gaps in its distribution. It is a large pigeon at 41 cm in length. Its back and wings are rufous, with the latter heavily speckled with white spots. The rest of the upperparts and underparts are blue-grey, and the head is grey with red patches around the eye. The neck is brownish, streaked with white, and the legs are red. . The Red-eyed Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, typically 30 cm (12 inches) in length. Its back, wings, and tail are pale brown. When flying, it shows blackish flight feathers. The head and underparts are dark vinous-pink, shading to pale grey on the face. There is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs...
Everything Uganda: A Day in the Life of a Masaka Cobbler

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

… By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog that explores a particular aspect of Uganda life, to learn more about the people and place that play host to our Adventure Like No Other!  . This week we will spend a day in the life of 30-year-old Masaka cobbler, Buwembo Paul. He was born and raised in Masaka, the Nyendo area to be specific. With his father being a builder and his mother a farmer it was destined for Paul to find work with his hands.  After completing secondary school in Masaka, his parents sent him to a vocational school where he completed his 2-year training in his trade. Once he was back home Paul begun the journey that brought him to where he is now, 8 years later.  Based on one of Masaka’s main streets along Elgin Road, Paul leaves his house as early as 6:30 to make the 3-mile journey in order to have his place open by 7 AM. His box containing all his equipment, 2 benches, and a seat, plus a couple of sacks containing customer’s shoes, are retrieved from a nearby store he rents. It takes minutes to have it all set up with the aid of his partner.  . Given that he is on a busy street in the middle of town, he often finds he has waiting customers. But he makes sure to have his breakfast before 9 AM as well. Paul does restorations (prices depend on damage), mending (2 to 3,000 shillings) and polishing (1,000 shillings). However, if an order is placed he can also make his own shoe too...
Everything Uganda: The Festive Season That Was

Everything Uganda: The Festive Season That Was

. By Eric Barigye Welcome back to this most special of weekly blogs, which explores a particular aspect of Uganda life, to learn more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other!    It is the first week of the year, but before we go forth into a new decade, we will be looking at Uganda’s take on the holiday season of 2019! Uganda is a predominantly Christian country. When all denominations are put together, some people put the figure at just over 80% of the population. This being the case, one wouldn’t be surprised when I say Christmas Day holds special significance for many in the country.  Like in many other places of the world, Christmas is very much a family day – the more the merrier! Many families in the country are not concentrated in the same place. Rural-Urban migrations mean that several generations have been started in towns far away from previous ones and so on this special family day, the journey is made out of Kampala and surrounding parts, back to the village. Christmas being in the middle of the week this time round meant the journey was further complicated with many leaving on the same day(s). The traffic jam was near gridlock level even for people who left as early as 5AM on the Monday and Tuesday. On Christmas Day itself, it is customary to go to church in the morning and later have a big feast for lunch with the whole family. Common foods include specially boiled chicken, matooke and beef. While the culture of present giving...
Everything Uganda: Birds of Masaka, Part 1

Everything Uganda: Birds of Masaka, Part 1

. . By Eric Barigye Welcome back to our weekly blog which explores a particular aspect of Ugandan life, to learn more about the people, place, and today – the wildlife that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other. . . This week we will be looking up at the sky and seeing which of our feathered friends fly passed! Masaka and Uganda, in general, is a very green place with many water bodies scattered across the area. This means birds have a lot of opportunity to nest before taking flight again. To tell us more I called on Wycliffe, a native Ugandan, who grew up in Masaka and worked with his family in their local guesthouse for many years. From an early age, Wycliffe was fascinated with wildlife and his goal was to create a business to blend his business acumen with his passion for Uganda’s natural resources and training as a safari guide. During the Marathon week, Wycliffe leads a 2-3 hour walk through the town where some of the birds below can be seen!  The Shoebill Stork (pictured above) is distributed in the freshwater swamps of central tropical Africa. This wonderful bird occasionally visits the Masaka Nabajjuzi Swamp. On a lucky day, it can easily be spotted in its statue-like posture because of its slow movements and tendency to stay still for long periods. The plumage (ie. the feathers) of adult birds is blue-grey with darker slaty-grey flight feathers. The breast presents some elongated feathers, which have dark shafts. The juvenile has a similar plumage colour but is a darker grey with a brown tinge....
Everything Uganda: How to Make Grasshopper Pizza

Everything Uganda: How to Make Grasshopper Pizza

. 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 how to make our very own Grasshopper Pizza from Marathon friends, Plot 99 – a local restaurant and coffee house based in Masaka. We are currently in Grasshopper Season (November – December) and the flying insects are a very popular snack for many in Masaka. Mr. Masereka Isaac, the chef at Plot 99, will be telling us how he infuses this local delicacy into one of the world’s most popular foods. He has been a chef since he was 21 years old and 7 years on he is still very much growing his craft. Inspired to go into the kitchen by his Uncle Edison, also a Chef, Isaac knew what he wanted to do right after college and went to catering school to achieve his 2-year course. After that he was referred to Plot 99 by his friend who worked there and he was taken on. Like a good chef, it wasn’t his first time hearing the words “Grasshopper Pizza” when his boss brought him the idea. Isaac had learned of the concept when listening to a radio show about a food festival in the capital city, Kampala. He knew he could pull it off. We start with the dough which includes warm water, olive oil, yeast, salt, sugar and white flour. After the dough is kneaded, he keeps it in a warm place for about...
Everything Uganda: How to Make Marathon Medals

Everything Uganda: How to Make Marathon Medals

. 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 how to make something very close to our Uganda Marathon; the Medals! And who better to teach us than the man who makes them, Mr. Otto Alfred (pictured below) of ‘Masaka Vocational Rehabilitation Centre’. Masaka Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (MVRC) is a special place that skills mostly vulnerable youths in a variety of vocational skills that includes tailoring, metalwork, computer literacy and woodwork. Started as part of a Government initiative in 1983 to benefit the people of Masaka, the former refugee camp has kept going all these years since despite the many challenges it has faced. MVRC has also been apart of the 7-Day Adventure in both the 2015 and 2016 Marathon as a supported project. Since then, these grounds have continued to play host to our hugely fun ‘Upcycling Day’ in the Marathon week.  Mr Otto’s own story with the place begun in 1991 as an instructor in knitting, tie and dye, and painting bags. He has kept the same title all these years but has gained some very valuable skills as all our previous runners can attest to with their medals.  The first step is to get fine wood of a eucalyptus tree, sized at 3.4*5.8*1.1mm. The wood is sandpapered before a hole is drilled into the wood. The wood is then cut to circles with the help of a machine here in Masaka town....
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