A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Guest blogger: Erik van der Zanden, MA African Studies
At this moment I am finalizing my master thesis on how youth can transform their situation with non-violent methods, in other words, how can they lead a successful peaceful revolution. Back in rainy Netherlands I often think back to my amazing days in Uganda. In this blog I will elaborate a bit more about my normal days in Uganda. Days like these that made it possible that I met inspirational leaders such as Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Kizza Besigye and Bobi Wine.
07:00 AM I wake up, as I must be in office at 09:00. To start my days energized and with passion, I boil some water, do 100 (2×50) push-ups with some epic music, prepare my ‘instant’ coffee and take a cold shower. My breakfast is some bread with peanut butter since there is this amazing bakery called BROOD, baking super delicious Dutch bread. While enjoying my breakfast I usually watch some motivational videos, dress myself and walk 10 minutes to get a Safe Boda.
08:30 AM It takes around 30 minutes to get to the office, but I absolutely love these 30 minutes as the start of my day. With the wind through my hair, enjoying the perfect temperature I listen to some more uplifting music and just observe my surroundings. Even though Kampala is notorious for its traffic jams and chaos, these Boda Boda pass through the other traffic as water through stones.
09:00 AM Arrived at the office, I open my laptop and start to work. Sometimes I first discuss the events of the week with my supervisor, sometimes we analyze the political situation and other times we just discuss life. My main assignment was to write a 5-year strategic plan for the youth, together with a work committee of 3 others. In order to achieve this goal, I had to listen, discuss, read and write, learning a lot in the process. Other assignments were writing external observations about the party, project proposals, strategic papers, brainstorm sessions and more. Working on the headquarters meant I got to meet most if not all the FDC leaders, and especially some time for discussion with the Party President Amuriat, an inspirational and fearless man.
14:00 PM We have lunch, which is usually made up of some rice, beans, matooke (banana stew) and fish, meat or peanut sauce. Sometimes we get some avocado’s, which are delicious in Uganda. It is always a nice moment of just chatting and recovering from the hard work, to refresh ourselves before the final hours.
17:00 PM I can usually leave at five, taking a Boda to either my home or Acacia mall, where I buy some food for my days to come. I usually arrive at my house again around 06:00 PM, depending on the traffic jam. Back at home I usually read a bit on my Kindle for an hour or two.
19:00 PM Even though I usually cook myself or dine with my roommates, I also go to my good friend to enjoy my evening once a week. He is a Ugandan and a young father of a son, of which he appointed me to be the Godfather! His wife is an amazing lady and the best cook of Uganda and I absolutely love these evenings. We just talk while watching and enjoying the baby doing his thing. Around 21:00 PM we eat dinner and he always persist I leave at 22:00 PM so I can get enough rest, even though he only sleeps around 3 or 4 hours himself. Back at home I work on my book (The Unfinished Revolution), chill in the garden or watch a movie.