It’s the end of another year and The Real Uganda wants to spread some good cheer!

Let’s start by checking out these ugly Christmas sweaters on – bet you can find one for your favourite auntie! When you shop (for literally anything) through that link, The Real Uganda receives a small commission (at not cost to you) that funds our high school scholarship program. Thank you, in advance.

While we aim to share how Christmas unfolds, here in Uganda, we also want to show off a little. Here’s what happened at The Real Uganda in 2022:

The Real Uganda Year in Review

The year got off to a great start with our first post-COVID volunteers! Joana, Lodtz, and Kess were here for 12, 2, and 2 weeks, respectively.

Joana, from Germany, spent much of her time with women’s groups, working alongside them in their communal gardens and handicraft circles. Lodtz, from Haiti, worked in a primary school, sharing culture and history with the kids. Kess spent her time making energy efficient clay stoves in her host community.

Our summer months were busy with Joel, Shreya, Sue, Julia, Ashley, Jack, Angie and Belinda. After so long without volunteers it was amazing to have so many countries respresented: Scotland, USA, Australia, and China. These volunteers worked in their respective communities during the week and traveled at the weekends. Rafting, zip-lining, wildlife safari, and gorilla tracking trips were enjoyed by all!

Our community-based partners were happy to welcome international volunteers back into their day to day lives and work. It felt good to discuss what’s been happening in the world these past 2 years and to show off what we’ve accomplished in their absense.

The Real Uganda continues to partner with 5 locally-led, community-based development organizations and 3 primary schools. Economic empowerment, public health improvement, and child centered education are top priorities. We added a new partner, who is addressing care and stability for special needs kids and the elderly in the communities in which they work.

women's craft circle in Uganda

The Real Uganda offers 2 – 12 week locally-led communty-based volunteer programs.

2022 saw the re-opening of Uganda’s schools after almost 2 years of tough COVID-19 restrictions. Our Girls Get Skills program came to a logical close, having impacted over 130 teen girls in Buikwe District. We’re proud of the work we did to give girls practical skills, social skills, and sexual reproductive health education during a time when Ugandan schools were under lock down.

Our focus switched to supporting 2 partner primary schools – with help from Luena Foundation and Hopeline Germany. We built a library, with hundreds of new books, 2 tables, and 8 chairs at Grace Daycare and Primary School. We also completely outfitted their girls’ dormitory. Beds, mattresses, mosquito nets, sheets, and blankets for 12 girls were delivered in October. The girls are feeling so special!

We’re now working to ready the boys’ dormitory for the new school year, beginning in February 2023.

baking donuts in Uganda

We also started a new hot meal program at Hamilton Buikwe Kids Care Centre. Thanks to former volunteer, Jaq Lamshed, almost 100 little ones from age 3 to 10 receive a free breakfast and lunch at school each day.

We’re looking forward to helping them construct a new pit latrine for the school in 2023.

We’d love for you to learn more about these ongoing projects and remember them when making your family’s annual charitable donations. 

School children in Uganda

While The Real Uganda is still actively seeking volunteers for our variety of programs for 2023, the pressure is officially off for the holidays.

Let’s talk about what it’s like to spend Christmas in Uganda.

Still Christmas shopping? Our online store has uniquely Ugandan tees, caps, and mugs. Proceeds support our community programs.

christmas in uganda

How we do Christmas in Uganda is a wonderful example of the ‘true spirit’ of the holiday. It’s not about consumerism. It’s about food, family, friends, and God. Uganda has a healthy Muslim population to keep everything going, so getting a week or more off work for Christians is usually no problem. Christians reciprocate during Eid holidays.

Ugandans work hard all year to get this week of rest, and typically rush out to their home village to get it. They arrive with city treats like bread, sugar, cooking oil, fancy mobile phones, and other fun stuff. In return, they’re treated to piles of mangoes and avocados, and tonnes of fresh slaughtered chicken. Days are spent digging in the family garden, preparing slow-cooked fresh meals, and swapping stories of how life has been the past year.

Christmas in Uganda is an annual family reunion.

Cooking Christmas lunch in Uganda

Christmas day is feast day for sure. After a few early morning hours in church, the entire family gets involved in lunch preparation.

Forget the one-carb rule. On the table you’ll find a bit of everything: matooke (steamed banana), yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, kalo (pounded millet), rice, pumpkin, and posho (maizemeal). For the relatively well-heeled, beef, goat, and chicken may also be on offer. For the vegetarians (full disclosure: Ugandan vegetarians are rare!) you’ll find g.nut (peanut) sauce, beans, and sautéed greens.

All Ugandan foods are steamed inside banana leaves over a wood fire for hours. The taste has a depth you won’t find anywhere else.

We feast in good health, as family, for the upcoming year.

Happy holidays from The Real Uganda – Let’s look forward to a prosperous 2023!


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