Friday, 15 May 2009
Next day we had a busy schedule, but we were still exhausted from the trip, so moved things back a little to the afternoon. We met with Kampala Junior Team (KJT) in a small office seemingly with its own windy staircase to it. Outside metalworkers were plying their dangerous trade on all sides, with all kinds of health and safety legislation broken every minute – a British jobsworth’s paradise! KJT introduced themselves in a room brimming with huge cups, just a sample of what they have won over the last few years. Outside, the view from the office was a dual look at the Kisenyi slum roofs and the Kampala skyline.
A short walk and we were on the periphery of Kisenyi, one of the world’s largest slum areas, notable for its close proximity to the centre of Kampala. Attempts had been and are being made to try to modernise the area, but it has a very long way to go. Some people live in “houses” 2m x 1m, spending their days, plying their wares outside their “front doors”. Others live amongst washing lines in their tenanted accommodation, fit for no one. We passed a tap and Kabugo Mansoor, the founder of KJT told us that it was a useful source of income for his “family” of orphans he houses in Kisenyi. Kabugo is a man who grew up here, but decided to use his skills for creating change, rather than financial gain. He set up the Kampala Junior Team for slum kids to have something to do and they came to him in their hundreds and still do.
We passed a barbers on the right and then came to Kabugo’s house, where we were met by his charges. He showed us inside and I took a few pictures of the cramped quarters. The kids seemed happy enough. Nearby there was a noisy crowd and the sounds of dice being thrown on wood! They were playing a kind of Premiership Ludo game for money and apparently a lot of money changes hands this way.
Passing through further, there were rugs strewn across ropes either side of the path, but I was advised that the colour runs when it rains, so I should not buy! On the other side a gaggle of kids were watching a TV in a shop. The crowds were thickening now and also so was the mud. In the rainy season, Kisenyi can become almost impassable and the Council has a substantial drainage and sewage plan in place right now for completion next year. It was looking decidedly more hostil, so I put the camera away and we fought our way through to the city centre, which was a choked with cars, motorbikes and Matatus…
Kisenyi was a moving experience and prompted many ideas for the development project we hope to implement in 2010. It has become the theme and core of the stay in Uganda, subsuming all other activity, at least for me.
Next day will be Butterfly and a very remarkable school…