Uganda-Philippines-Vietnam

  • Grasshoppers at Kassim Kiwanuka's house

      • kaestel.dk
      • Julias fathers house

    We just paid a short visit to Julia's family to drop off the kids, before heading to an engagement party.

    I was fortunate enough to be offered a local delicacy - fried grasshoppers. And when in Rome ...

    It's not bad - it's crispy. Just close your eyes and think of ... grasshoppers.

  • The Uganda engagement party

      • kaestel.dk
      • Penina's house

    Today we went to a wedding introduction - a sort of traditional Ugandan engagement party. This is when the family of the bride officially accepts the proposal and receives the dowry. It's quite a party, spanning almost an entire day, including as many guests as you can possibly afford to invite. Lots of dressing up in your finest traditional outfit (me included), dancing and eating and more dancing (no, not me included - hell has yet to experience its first days of freezing).

    Today dowry comes in all kinds of flavors, ranging from bare necessities like 50 kg bags of rise, a leg of a cow, crates and more crates of sodas to the more outrageous showoffs like cars, houses and what have you. Only the brides family receives dowry. The introduction we went to today was not an ordinary one, as it was done for the maid of the house. These gestures are rarely seen here, where the big-fish-eat-little-fish mentality dominates.

    I thank my Ugandan friends for allowing me to participate in this event.

  • The market

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      • Market Street, Kampala

    The pubic market in Kampala center offers anything you can imagine. Fresh fruit, vegetables and spices. Chickens and grasshoppers are being plucked as we pass by. Pots and pans, pipes and tools. Suits and dresses.

    The men are playing an intense set of Ludo in one corner of the market, the young boys are offering their services as bag carriers and the women are handling the food.

    It is chaotic and inspiring. Makes me want to cook something.

  • Dinner at Speke Hotel

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      • Speke Hotel, Kampala

    Tonight we went to the Speke Hotel for dinner. Speke Hotel is built in the 1920s and named after the founder of Uganda, John Hanning Speke. Ironically this fancy hotspot only offers european food.

    At one point Moses Kiwe Sebunya, the Ugandan Ambassador of Tunesia came to our table to say hi to Jasper. It is no understatement to say that Jasper knows everyone and is shown a lot of respect everywhere we go with him. I was introduced and kindly lectured a bit about how to approach investment in Uganda - basically referring to EU or UN funding as the only way to go. I didn't tell him anything about me or my plan, aside from my Danish origin.

  • Returning to Speke Hotel

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      • Speke Hotel, Kampala

    Just finished a meeting with Gashaija Vernant at Speke Hotel. Vernant is a former High Commisioner of Health in Uganda and Presidental Advisor on Engineering. Currently he is not involved with the govenment but he is clearly very well connected. After briefly telling him about our plan, he immidiately picked up his phone and arranged a meeting with the Senior Presidential Advisor on Techology - so we are having a casual meeting with him tomorrow at a technology conference.

    Vernant is currently working on a street light project in Entebbe. One of the problems with street lighting here, is that people steal the lightheads, and I haven't seen a single working street light in Uganda so far, though lightpoles are a frequent sight. He has developed a system, where the bulb enclosure blows up, if removed, making it pointless to attempt to steal them. Obviously the system is solarbased, with a light sensor automatically turning the light on when the daylight dwindles. He is working on an local advertisement plan for financing the project. Vernant is primarily doing this project, because he wants his own street to be lit at night.