Kampala, Uganda Report of what it's like to live there - 12/20/18

Personal Experiences from Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Uganda 12/20/18

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

We have had multiple PCS tours and this is our first Africa post.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington, DC, and we usually take the direct to Amsterdam and then to Dulles from there.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Five months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We adore our house; it’s massive with a gorgeous yard.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Cost is cheap. Good produce is available. You can get a lot locally but I order a lot from Amazon.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More kid snacks in our consumables shipment.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Lots of great restaurants and food delivery is easy and common.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Nothing unusual.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO at the Embassy.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Definitely available and not expensive.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The embassy does not have a gym which has been a bother because traffic is awful here and it’s tough to get to my gym. That said, I like my gym a lot. It’s well equipped and close to my house.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

I mostly stick to cash here.

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5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No, we are mostly prohibited from using the public transport here because it can be unsafe.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Definitely a high ground clearance SUV, the roads are in bad shape.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, we have Zuku and it’s super fast and pretty reliable.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I use a local provider.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes, they’re available. We put dog food in our consumables shipment.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Mostly business casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes, although we haven’t had any issues personally, it’s something to always be mindful of. Bag snatches seem to be common.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria is a concern so most people take either Malerone or Larium.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Pretty bad air quality.

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4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

No, not here.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The weather great all year, usually high of 80, low of 60 every day.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

We adore KISU, a number of embassy families go there now. My kids never want to leave and the campus is very pretty, the commute for the kids is good as well. They offer good after school programs as well, to include basketball, soccer, swimming, Zumba, art, lego, etc.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

They do accommodate mild learning disabilities.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, they are available.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Plenty of sports are available for kids through the schools and Kabira country club offers tennis lessons and they have a gorgeous pool.

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Expat Life:

1. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Ugandans are very nice and polite, they tend to want to help you if they can.

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2. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I’d say no to this.

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3. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We really like it here. Travel within Uganda is easy and there is a lot to see and do like Murchison, Sipi Falls. queen Elizabeth, and Jinja.

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4. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Gorgeous woven, colorful baskets.

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5. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Very cheap, great weather, good restaurants.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

The traffic seems quite bad to me.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely! It’s a great family post.

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