A new portion of thoughts and observations from my Job Shadowing time in Uganda
On Thursday we visited the biggest mosque in Kampala, which is commonly known as Gaddafi Mosque, as it was a gift to the Ugandan Muslim community by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The mosque is impressive and the 360 degrees view on Kampala from the minaret is breath-taking. When we were there it was still not clear if Eid will be celebrated on Friday or Saturday, as it depends on whether the moon will be visible on the night of Thursday (so much I don’ know about Islam!). The perceptions on the size of the Muslim population in Uganda are very different – earlier in the week someone told us Muslims are more than half the population, the guide at the mosque said 25% and according to official census it is actually only 14%. Nevertheless, Eid is a public holiday for everybody along with the Christian religious holidays. Again, according to official data Christians are nearly 84% of the Ugandan population (this includes Catholics, protestants and a very small Orthodox community). There seem to be no serious interreligious tensions. On Friday we visited Kamapala’s amusement park, which was packed of people and judging from the clothes – predominantly Muslim, as it seems this is one way to celebrate Eid.
After the mosque we went to also check a nearby cathedral and then got stuck on a crazy traffic jam for an hour and a half at least. It gave us time for quality conversations (on music and life), but completely exhausted Frank who was driving. Traffic in Kampala is crazy and jams are something people take into consideration when making their plans. Motorcycles are a very common mean of transportation, as they can at least partly save you from getting stuck. It is also very common to use them as taxi (called boda-boda) and you can even order a Uber motorcycle through the app. We’ve seen traffic lights only in one part of town so far and they seem to sometimes cause more confusion. As a whole, the city is busy and full of live!
“Football is the sport here”, says Frank and it seems to be true. We are here during the World Cup and this is something you can talk about with practically everyone. The noise of the city indicates when somebody scores. We gathered yesterday with local friends to see the game Spain-Portugal and it was a great social experience. Uganda did not qualify for the championship, but there is enough African teams we can cheer for. Go Africa!
I still want to write something on racism and complicated Black-White relationships in post-colonial context, but this will take some more reflection, so stay tuned.