Tag Archives: film

A few small bananas

My third day in Nakivale, Uganda’s oldest refugee settlement, and feeling ready to move on tomorrow. Meanwhile my guide and translator, a film-maker and actor called Alex, is in his ninth year of living here. Some Rwandans I’ve spoken to have been here 16 years. Some mention those who were resettled in the US, Canada, Denmark; many have disappeared to try to make it in Uganda’s cities. Most people stay.

And they come. New arrivals — about 3000 each month — put the current number of inhabitants at 110,000. The population looks set to keep growing:  Uganda is receiving refugees from not one next-door crisis, but three: DR Congo, Burundi, South Sudan.

I’ve talked to maybe 20 people, some for five minutes, some for several hours. Olga, a warm young Congolese woman who has galvanised a group of her peers to start making and selling crafts, tells me in well-spoken French that life is better here for simple reasons: securité, liberté. We can do what we want. Many others are less positive. Yes, we could go and live elsewhere, but how can we afford to? Yes, we can set up businesses here in Nakivale, but how, without capital? Yes, we could buy better or cheaper goods from the cities, but who pays our transport there? Continue reading

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Land of opportunity

Impromptu interview with Erasto, a filmmaker who took me on a brief tour of Kibera.

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Slumming it

This morning, Okwiri and I go to Dandora. Many people know of Kibera, Africa’s second-largest slum. Dandora isn’t that big, but it looks pretty disgusting.

As for Kibera: I’d prepared myself for the worst. And of course, on a sunny mid-morning, the reality didn’t seem that bad. With hindsight, though, I realise what I’d been dreading were pushing crowds, aggression, shouting, feeling threatened. There was none of that.

The viewThat’s not to say it’s easy to live here. Continue reading

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“Actually, my favourite animal is a dog”

It seems ironic that chimpanzee guru Jane Goodall – who even in her late 70s travels 300+ days per year and never stays longer than 3 weeks in one place – would be just as happy spending time with the family pet.

Together with probably every other expat in Dar, I went along to a screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary Jane’s Journey, followed by a Q+A with the star herself. Those asking the questions were mainly the loud and cocky kids attending international schools (“Do chimps eat vegetables?”, “What are your grandchildrens’ names?”). Goodall never missed a beat; she’s good with people, not just with chimpanzees. Continue reading

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