School children pose for the camera at a school in Masaka, Uganda. (AP/Ben Curtis)

School children pose for the camera at a school in Masaka, Uganda. (AP/Ben Curtis)

Dusk falls over Kampala, Uganda. (AP/Helene Franchineau)

Dusk falls over Kampala, Uganda. (AP/Helene Franchineau)

Matoke is a staple food for Ugandans.

Matoke is a staple food for Ugandans.

Tree-climbing lions live in Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda. (Charles J. Sharp/BY-SA 4.0)

Tree-climbing lions live in Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda. (Charles J. Sharp/BY-SA 4.0)

A woman reads from a Bible in her native Bari language in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northern Uganda. Bari is one of the many languages spoken in the country. (AP/Ben Curtis)

A woman reads from a Bible in her native Bari language in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northern Uganda. Bari is one of the many languages spoken in the country. (AP/Ben Curtis)

Passport to . . . UGANDA

Posted: January 1, 2022

Rivers, farmland, gorillas, volcanoes . . . Uganda has it all. Winston Churchill (former British Prime Minister) called this lush spot “the jewel of Africa.”

Buckle up. Let’s explore Uganda!

Food. Stop in the capital city of Kampala. Check the market for Uganda’s staple food, matoke. (Matoke is a starchy cooking banana, similar to a plantain.) In northern Uganda, you’ll find locals eating millet, sorghum, cornmeal, and vegetables. Some Ugandans live as livestock herders. Herders eat diets rich in butter and meat.

Education. Ugandan kids are missing out on education right now. Normally, you would spot kids ages six to 13 on their way to school. After seven years, Ugandan teens may move on to secondary school (high school). After four years, students can attend school for another two years. Early private schools in Uganda were founded by Christian missionaries. Now education has continued to spread with government schools. 

Animals. People have cleared much land in Uganda. This destroyed the homes of many animals. But not to fear: You can still find leopards and lions in national parks. In Queen Elizabeth National Park, look for rare, tree-climbing lions. You’ll also come across elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, and many butterflies in Uganda. Check rivers for hippos and crocodiles.

Language. Swahili and English are the official languages of Uganda. But many people groups call Uganda home. At least 30 other languages are spoken in Uganda too.

Why is Uganda poor? Almost half the people in Uganda live in poverty. Why? Only about half the people in Uganda have access to doctors and hospitals. Diseases such as malaria make people unable to work. Many Ugandans also need to be taught how to perform jobs that pay well.

Good news: Many Ugandans know Jesus. About four out of every five Ugandans say they are Christians.  

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. — Acts 16:31