I still remember the day was April 4, 2008 when I decided to switch the job. I started to give interviews. Fortunately I was selected in Picfare industries Ltd Uganda. Truly I was not even known where Uganda located in Africa’s map. Now it was the R&D time about Africa. I searched a lot and was very comfortable with maximum and minimum temperature and greenery in Uganda. When I was searching about company I got stuck on Aneesh’s blog where he beautifully describe each and everything. My interviewer Mr CK asked me to join within 20 days and give my decision as soon as possible. Initially everybody told me not to go Africa as it is not good for growth and safety but the same time I am thankful to my friends Alok Nautiyal, Shailendra Rathore and Vinod suri who insist me to go and experience. They told me if everybody is discouraging you on that case you should go there and see how is the place and working environment as I have another offer in Mumbai. By that time I do have 2 month return ticket so was comfortable for my selection. I still remember the word by CK that too much analysis cause paralysis so after thinking a lot I decided here we go.I was already resigned in my last company once I committed with Picfare industries.Now 15 June 2008 my first day in Uganda.
[Uganda is a country whose beauty will continue to surprise you! Named the “Pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill, Uganda’s magnificent scenery includes snow-capped mountains, rolling plains, thick tropical forests, as well as semi-desert areas. It is a landlocked country in East Africa, sharing borders with Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Uganda lies astride the Equator covering an area of about 240,000 square kilometres, between the two East African Great Rift Valleys © Karen Zucchiatti ]
I reached around 12:45 at Entebbe International Airport Uganda. Driver James came to welcome me and said welcome to Uganda saibo. I was surprise what is the meaning of Ssebo. Let me make it clear, In Uganda they call Ssebo for gentleman and Nyabo for women. I have seen on the way few places where all motorbikes people are waiting for someone. I asked driver what is this then he told me that we use taxi and motorbikes ( local language boda-boda) for transport.
When I was seeing out of window it was Lake Victoria a beautiful lake in Entebbe. Now it was the time to approach toward Kampala. Mr Thakkar was the first person I met in Uganda. He is a manager in store and warehouse of Southern Range Nyanza Ltd. Now from kampala me and his family move together toward Jinja my work location.So it was the time to inform family that I reached safely so I make call and let them be comfortable from my side. So now I am hungry Mr Thakar offer me Dhokla (Gujrati dish) a delicious one I love it. In the evening Mr Ck come to meet me and asked me to have one round in market and does some house hold shopping. The first thing I was waiting for my new mobile number. Finally I got it evening I had dinner at Alpesh’s house. It was my first day in Uganda I was tired, but interested to see blue sky with starts no pollution temperature 20 degree.
16 June 2008 my first day starts with a cup of tea and toast from Ck’s house. Now time to heading toward company I got introduce with every one staff in all three companies ( Picfare, SRNL and Panafrica ). In staff there were more than 30 foreigners. Its 10:00 tea time with Mr Keny. Now onward same routine from morning to evening work and after 19:00 enjoy volleyball, table tennis or pool in night light. Some people used to call it’s honeymoon period for fresher, but I am surprise that I was in honeymoon period for all 18 months I worked. I enjoyed my working environment as well as weekend life on Saturday and Sunday.
Now it’s time to explore Uganda. The best thing I ever like the place is Murchison Falls.
It is 5 hours from Kampala with about 305 km. We headed this place with Mr Nitin (Colleague in IT),Mr Prasad and Mr Amit’s family. It’s wonderful breakfast with biryani and chicken legs. So first day visit to wild life safari and come back to kolping guest house. Full night explore masindi town after dinner with all bachelor. Second day visit to Murchison falls, gorilla safari and have dinner in masindi guest house. The one thing I will prefer that if you want to enjoy Murchison try to stay in Red chilli camping house, we missed it.
Second best place is bujagali. This is nearby jinja around 8 Km away. It’s a get together point for foreigner you can enjoy tasty Nile Special beer here with slow music.
There are other places too like Queen Elizabeth National Park, nabugabo beach, Entebbe zoo, Entebbe botanical garden, Equator, Source of Nile, Crocodile Park, sippi falls, bungee jumping site, Fort Portal , Kibale Forest, and so on where you can enjoy nature.
I still remember few words of luganda apart from I already used in this blog. 1- How are you-Olyotya sabo(males), Olyotya nyabo (female)
Response –Jendi (I am fine ) 2- Muindi (for indian ), Mzungu (For white ) and Webaale –Thank you
Now it’s time to know how to go – Visa process for Indian is on arrival basis you must have to take yellow fever vaccine before leaving for Uganda. Kenya airways, Ethiopian airways and Emirates airways fly to Uganda. I prefer Emirates is best. For Indian food there are lot of Indian grocery stores in market and restaurant in garden city. I would personally recommended Haandi restaurant Kampala and Leoz or Baraza in Jinja. There are Indian temples and you can enjoy all Indian festivals.Transport mainly used boda-boda( motorbike ), taxi( matato ) and minibus. Local currency is Uganda Shilling (UGX). Official language is English so there is no communication problem at all. Weather is good in all 12 months temperature 25C to 30C. International dialling code for Uganda is +256. Main exports of Uganda is coffee, cotton, tea, fish and fish products, tobacco, maize, beans, pyrethrum and vanilla.
Vegetable, fruits and vegetarian or non-vegetarian foods are cheap and fresh not like frozen in japan. I like maize, Passion fruit and pine apple best in Uganda. There are common foods throughout most parts of Uganda, such as millet, sorghum, beans, groundnut, sweet potatoes, cassava and maize. Green bananas, known as ‘Matooke’, and sometimes referred to as the ‘national dish’ of Uganda, are predominantly grown in the south. Traditionally, Ugandans eat with their right hand (the left being reserved for hygiene purposes). They use ‘Matooke’ and/or millet, rolling it into a ball or mashing it to pick up the food.
I spent 1 year 6 month there but never felt that I am outside of India I enjoyed every day even every moment. Picfare is good place to work if you have guts to work alone with accompanying junior staff and give them growth as well as yourself. Like everywhere here also your have to work hard, be sincere, control temperament (which I loss some time) and for that you will get paid and rewarded. It was nice experience to develop in house payroll system for group companies with finger print machine.Last but not least again I would to Thank all of my colleagues at Joban Group Of Companies.