Letter from Uganda–First Impressions
We had a good journey to Uganda although the terminal at Addis Ababa airport where we had a four-hour stopover was similar to those you see in films from the thirties with the addition of modern flight display boards.
Once we landed at Entebbe on Sunday we met up with the rest of the party here to support the England Counties XV. There are fourteen of us including parents and friends of players, three RFU Council Members, and former England and British Lions stand-off Alan Old whose son Michael is the England Counties XV tour manager.
We have had a couple of trips to Kampala and the capital city seems to be pretty clean and tidy, and you get a feeling of national pride from the people. The streets are lined with hundred of little shops including ubiquitous mobile phone top-up booths, often operating out of converted shipping containers, between them selling pretty much anything you can think of. However I rarely saw anyone buying anything so I’m not sure how they make a living,
There were plenty of shacks scattered around the city but it would be going too far to say that there is widespread squalor. Clearly there is a big gap between the haves and have-nots but I have seen far worse in other African countries. The resort where is a staying is simply magnificent nestling on the shore of Lake Victoria, and I am uncomfortably conscious that most of the local population are unlikely to get inside the compound.
I’m writing this while watching the England Counties XV having their final training session at Kyadondo RFC before they play Uganda tomorrow. A nice looking pitch with a two storey clubhouse and a well stocked bar which should see a thousand or more spectators at the game. The players have had problems with their travel arrangements, last minute hitches meaning that they arrived in three batches, the last ones only getting here on Sunday. However, they have already been doing some outreach work in local schools and spirits are good.
Pictures from the Captain’s Run
I’ll be tweeting and Facebooking from the game tomorrow and you can read more on www.rfu.com.