Month: May 2014

Wiki Voyage Mbale

I got to town at about 3:00pm and had to decide between bus and taxi (matatu as most of you know it). But dint take me long to make that decision as a bus broker approached me to know where I was going. I told him Mbale and let him lead the way (don’t try this when you’re travelling in Uganda, you could land on a con artist). We approached a bus that seemed quite empty which I refused to enter and looked for another one. The YY coach seemed to be a popular choice for people travelling to Mbale and so i boarded it. Needless to say the broker was mad at me, but I figured let him go look for another unsuspecting soul. This was the first time I actually realized buses had brokers, so I went along with him just to see how the process works. The broker gets a commission for bringing the customer.

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Given the  time I choose to travel, we found ourselves in rush hour traffic. This made us take about 45 to 60 minutes to leave the city. But when we eventually did, it was smooth sailing till we reached Namawojjolo. The bus stopped for passengers to freshen up. Namawojolo is a popular stop, where lots of goodies are sold, grilled chicken on a stick, grilled liver, grilled plantain, soda, water, assorted juice drinks. After that stop we continued nonstop to Mbale and people were dropped off at various stops. I got off at the final stop in Mbale town; it was 9:00pm by this time. I checked into a nearby hotel. Luck must have been on my side, because I got the last room available. I must say, the journey was not that bad. I attribute it to choosing the right bus.Clock tower mbale

     Rural Mbale, Uganda - by Michael Shade

 

During my stay in Mbale I met up the administrator of Bugishu cooperative union. Who gave me a tour of the Bugishu cooperative premises and explained a bit of their history. I in turn told him about wikiAfrica and he seemed quite enthusiastic to work with me on the project.  I will eventually work with five societies in the cooperative and be able to get hands on experience with coffee growing in Mbale.  I will get to interact with farmers and see how they conduct their business. Mbale has taken a piece of my heart, I will  be glad to return .

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Wiki Meet-up

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Have you ever hosted a party and you were not sure people would turn up. Those were my exact sentiments. So to my amazement, I got a good turn up of Wikipedians. It was an intimate get together, where we were able to interact easily with each other.

It started off with introductions, where we realized that we all had very different professional and social backgrounds. We had IT personnel, writers, programmers, educators, students etc. It was a great mix of individuals. We all shared our experiences about Wikipedia and what I discovered is that most people looked at it an untouchable platform where one finds information but lets the experts contribute.

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We had an editing session of our home areas and were able to realize that most of them were stub pages and lacked images. We added economic activities of our areas and a photo to one of the pages. Everyone realized how easy it is to contribute to Wikipedia.

That was not the end of our night; we socialized and enjoyed refreshments together. This was my best part of the meet- up, where I got to have one on one conversation with people and got to know them better. We Plan to have another meet-up and this time it’s going to be a photo hunt of our home areas

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