The internet is abuzz with listicles meant to make everyday life a little easier. And boy do we need it. Today’s world is one seriously complicated place.


Ugandans have always been good at efficiently using local resources and resisting the tide of consumerism. I’ve written about it here as regards sustainability and here in reference to appropriate technology.

Today I’m adding a whole new collection of truly Ugandan insights that are totally sustainable, appropriate, and make everyone’s life easier and more fun.

Here are my 8 Ugandan life hacks. Enjoy!


1. The Neighbourhood Fruit & Veg Lady

She ensures we have fresh produce just steps from our door.

Uganda small business owner

Look! It’s Mary!

Who needs a fridge? I’d rather have that smile.


2. The Ol’ Blade Wedged in a Branch

Forever helping us to harvest our banana leaves.

Ugandans steam fresh, organic produce in banana leaves to give it a depth of taste you won’t find anywhere else. Not a life hack, but a way of life.


3. Household DIY

making-soapWhy buy liquid soap, when you can listen to a radio program, attend a training, and make 20 litres of it in an afternoon. Collect a few empty mineral water bottles, fill them with your soap – and you’ve got stock for retail trade. Instant business.


4. Reusing Empty Sacks to Make Baskets

Ugandan baskets. Ugandan handicrafts.

Baskets like this are made from banana stalks (obukeedo) and recycled flour, sugar, rice, and bean sacks. They’re used as decoration, to present bride-price, to hold household items, and even as serving dishes for our guests.


5. The Ubiquitous Plate Stand

It keeps our dishes clean and dry.


The sun acts as an extra sanitizing agent.


6. Pay as You Go Everything


Mobile technology allows Ugandans to conveniently pay bills. We instantly load units onto our phones, electrical meters, and televisions – using the cash we store on our phones! And we only buy what we need. Because of the diversity in our marketplace, consumers can literally buy 10 cents or $100 worth of credit at a time.


7. The Baby on the Back

Ugandan woman with baby-on-the-back

Hands-free maama

Attachment parenting without the consumerism.


8. The Hand Made Toy

iphone-photos-077Old coat hangers, some bungee cord, 2 pencils, and a stick. And a heap of Ugandan innovation and motivation! (Local hand made toys deserve a blog post of their own, don’t they?)

There you have it. 8 ways regular Ugandans hack their lives. Could any of these tips make your life just a little sweeter? Ugandans – what did I miss?

Want to learn more about real life in Uganda? Volunteer with The Real Uganda. Our volunteers live and work with regular people and learn new ways to approach life. We want volunteers who will bring new ideas, adapt to local conditions, and have a positive, collaborative attitude.


8 Ways to Hack Your Life – Ugandan Style!

8 Ways to Hack Your Life - Ugandan Style!

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