Uganda …

Lake Victoria is a very large expanse of fresh water about half way up the continent of Africa and somewhat east of the midline.

Uganda sits on top of the lake sharing borders with Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC and South Sudan. The country straddles the equator.

The surface area is roughly similar to my home state of Victoria, Australia or England, Scotland and Wales. It has a population approaching 50 million people and expanding rapidly. The median age of 15 years is the lowest in the world. The birth rate of very nearly 6 children per woman is among the highest in the world.

In the colonial era Uganda was a British protectorate. It gained independence in 1962. Government since then has changed hands by military coup. The effectiveness of government has been reduced by internal armed conflict such as the civil war with the Lords Resistance Army.

The current president is Yoweri Kaguta Musaveni who gained power in 1986 after a six-year guerrilla war. Transparency International has rated the public sector as among the most corrupt in the world, an estimated $286 million US is siphoned off annually. Uganda provides one of the best cases for the suggestion that foreign aid is a process that takes money from poor people in rich countries and gives it rich people in poor countries.

The human rights situation is depressing, child labour is common, the police and armed forces are often accused of torture.

More than 40 languages are spoken, the main groups are Bantu, Nilotic and Sudanic. A couple of Kuliac languages are also spoken. English is the lingua franca in the south, Swahili and English serve the same purpose in the north.

For all the bad news it is a beautiful country. From dry savanna, through fertile agricultural land, dense forest to snow-capped mountains. The people are certainly tough but vibrant and industrious.

The place gets under your skin.

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