Mobile Mawokota: Uganda’s Treasures

Oluwombo lwe binyebwa ne ekyenyanja ekikalu ne amatooke ne kalo.   

Not only is it fun to say, but it’s delicious to eat!  My favorite local dish- it consists of sauce made from groundnuts (binyebwa) and smoked fish (ekyenyanja ekikalu), specially steamed in banana leaves (oluwombo) and served with green banana mash (matooke) and a spongy millet paste (kalo).

Oluwombo lwe binyebwa ne amatooke

Ugandan food is sensational.  Whether its kabalagala gonja, a fried banana pancake and a ton of fun to say, or a Rolex—‘rolled eggs’ in a chapatti—food in Uganda is organic and delicious. A typical meal consists of a sauce, such as a meat boil or crushed groundnuts—similar in taste to the peanut—and any selection of accompaniments, including matooke, posho (made from maize), kalo and rice.  Also included are ensujju, lumonde, and ejuuni, better known as pumpkin, sweet potato, and yams. 

Sweet bananas and Mandazi (African pastry) from a street vendor.

The streets are brimming with colorful fruit stands selling jackfruit, sugarcane and mangos, vendors roasting meats and gonja (plantains), and children rapping car windows with bags of fried cassava and passion fruit for 500 shillings, or 20 cents.

Matooke matooke matooke!

Equally exciting and unique are the modes of transport.  In Uganda, one can get around via taxis or boda bodas.  Taxis are commuter vans outfitted to seat twelve (though often, they cram in as many as fifteen) people per vehicle.  They follow designated routes, but one can hop on or off at any point during the trip.  Taxis are cheap and efficient; however, personal space (let alone elbow room) is nonexistent.  You are intimately stuffed up against the passanger next to you.   

A loaded taxi

Boda-bodas, on the other hand, are motorized bikes; thousands of drivers zip around the city offering quick rides and perilously darting in and out of traffic.  To ride one is high-risk: boda-boda drivers are notorious for getting into accidents and stealing purses and wallets.  But nothing feels more amazing or freeing than the wind blowing through your hair as you weave through stopped traffic on a boda-boda.  They are fast and fun, and as long as you determine the price beforehand, a relatively affordable means of transport. 


Leaving the city one discovers such gems as the Nile.  There is a reason that Uganda is considered the “pearl of Africa”.  Its natural beauty and wildlife are some of the best in the world.  I was lucky enough to visit Jinja, where the head of the Nile resides.  It was simply idyllic.

Head of the Nile
I did not go on a safari; I did, however, get to meet lots of adorable children.  

Kids having fun at the Nile

And might I mention, they absolutely love the camera!

Village children

Uganda is a treasure chest of culture and beauty.  Its soil is coral, and its people hospitable.  I feel so lucky to have entered its premises.  As observed in the words of Winston Churchill, “For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for perfusion of brilliant life… Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa.”