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.
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
Why 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
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
Attachment parenting without the consumerism.
8. The Hand Made Toy
Old 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.