Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Layover in Istanbul

This is a bit late, but per request of my mother, here are some pictures from my layover.  I flew Turkish airlines to get to Uganda and had a nine hour layover in Istanbul.  Rather than wander around the airport for this time as I've done a few times before (eleven miserably boring hours in the Frankfurt airport), I chose to hit some of the city's touristy spots.  Pictures below:

The Blue Mosque: It was closed, but gorgeous from the outside!

I had a lovely walk along the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul's old city.

I had time to walk around in Istanbul's famous Hagia Sophia, a basilica/mosque/museum that was built in the 6th century AD.  It is known for its beautiful painted and architectural details, particularly for its decadent mosaics depicting Christian themes despite the church's conversion into a mosque in 1453.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ugandan Cuisine

I've had a few opportunities to try traditional Ugandan cuisine so far.  There are a lot of starches involved: Matoke, a mash made of boiled green bananas, cassava, and sweet potatoes.  Then a sauce, either with meat or peas.  In all honesty, it isn't my favorite cuisine, a bit heavy and bland for my taste.  Luckily, you can find just about any type of food here in Kampala from Ethiopian to Italian (lots of pizza) to Indian to Mexican; they even have Sushi!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ugandan Scaffolding

This is crazy, right?!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Downtown Kampala

This weekend I went downtown twice: once to buy a cell phone and once to see Kampala's central market called Owino.  I'd heard that this is where all of the good produce in Kampala can be found.  From there, it is purhased by small vendors/market owners and then sold in other areas past-prime and at a higher price.

I was also a bit curious about the protests going on around the country, some of which are happening downtown, over a rise in the cost of living--namely the cost of mutatus (public transportation vans) have gone up by about 200 shillings, the equivalent of 7 or 8 cents US.  This rise in price profoundly impacts Ugandans who commute into the city for work.  As a result, citizens are walking to work in protest.

This part is a bit confusing to me, but since these protests were initiated by presidential candidate Kizza Besigye (lost the last three years of elections to Museveni, who has been president since 1986), the Museveni administration has made all protesting illegal.  Not sure how walking to work can be illegal, but apparently the police are trying put a stop to it.  On Thursday, Besigye was arrested and was "accidentally" shot in the hand by the police as he was brought into custody.  This has enraged members of Besigye's opposition party and led to further protests.  Rumor has it that a policeman was gruesomely killed by a mob of protestors over the weekend.  There have also been protests at Makerere University in downtown Kampala after Universty officials made a movement to double tuition fees.

I didn't find evidence of any protests while walking around downtown, but I did find the area to be chaotic.  Taxis and motorcycles called boda bodas seem to come at you from every angle, and streetside vendors shout Mzungu (meaning white person) at you as you pass by.  I definitely enjoyed my visit to Owino market.  Downtown Kampala certainly carries the excitement of a developing country, still a bit rough around the edges, but overflowing with enterprise and life!  Pictures below...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Arrived in Kampala

I arrived at the Educate! house in Kampala around 3am on Thursday morning, just as lightning struck the house's power source...hence this delayed post!  I've been having a great time so far getting to know housemates Brendan, Libby, and Maggie and meeting a bunch of their friends.  The house is great, here are some pictures:

Our lovely garden

Livng room


And crazy house dog, Akiki (sp?)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Heading to Uganda!

This evening, I take off for Uganda.  From now until the end of June, I will be living in a house in Kampala--Uganda's capital and largest city.  I will be doing volunteer work for Educate! photographing students in schools around Uganda and doing whatever else I can to contribute to this non-profit and the inspiring work they do all over Uganda!  I am beyond excited to experience a part of the world so completely new to me.  I will try to post regular updates here for anyone interested in what I'm up to.