Kim asked about cell phones in Uganda. When we got here it was very late so I just used my cell phone to text out and let people know we arrived. The next morning we had a taxi take us to Garden City mall where I was told we could buy a cell phone. It is kind of like a track phone in the US. We had heard good things about MTN so we went into their store in the mall and asked for a phone around $30 USD. That was the cheapest phone they had. So we bought that. You buy minutes for your phone. We buy them in 10,000 UGX increments (not sure if they get sold at a lower price?). I haven’t really kept track of how much we’ve spent on them – but we last uploaded a 40,000 UGX card and it has lasted all week – I try to text whenever possible (cheaper) and try to keep calls as short as we can. Naturally, calls to the US are more expensive. We’ve had really great service with the phone and it holds its charge for a long time. You can buy MTN cards everywhere – they sell them at our hotel, along the streets, in the stores, etc. Once we get home we’d be willing to loan families coming over our phone to use while you’re here. That way you’d just have to buy the cards.
While we’re talking costs for families coming to Uganda behind us – we haven’t been able to use Godfrey much. Well, at all actually since we arrived . He picked us up from the airport but he has been busy every other time we’ve called. We found a taxi driver we really like who seems to have very reasonable fees, so for those coming over let me know if you want his contact info. The other taxi driver we’ve been using has been charging us 10,000 UGX one way for a trip into downtown. Thats about $5 USD. We don’t usually have him wait, we just tell him we’ll call him when we’re ready to go back – that way we aren’t charged waiting charges. It will be cheaper if you are going a shorter distance or not downtown. He wants 200,000 for all day going to Jinja – (about $100 USD). We may try to talk him down a bit but I think that is fairly reasonable, it includes the gas and everything. A boda boda (motorcycle taxi) is much cheaper than a taxi. Keith just went from our hotel, to our lawyers office downtown to the mall for 6,000 UGX. (about $3 USD). Pretty good deal, but you are on the back of a motorcycle weaving through traffic in Africa. It isn’t the safest and definitely not for the faint of heart. :)
Also – anyone coming and still looking for a place to stay. I will highly recommend our hotel. It isn’t fancy but it is comfortable, safe and everyone is VERY nice. If you stay an extended period of time they give you a good rate and include a good breakfast buffet.
Let me know if there are other questions I can answer on how things work here. I’m not expert, but I’m learning as I go!