It was good to be back in Uganda. The staff at Endiro, the local coffee shop, frequented by Ugandan business people and expats alike, remember me. I got a free refill with only a smile. The nightclubs may have changed and there are a lot of new buildings, but it feels very much like I’m returning to a shinier, cleaner, Kampala.
The contrast to Kabul is greater than I remember. Not only is Kampala shockingly green, but the poverty that I once felt so overwhelming and disheartening seems light in comparison to the street children in the snow, the litter filled river and drains and the wounded men, women and children begging on the streets of Kabul. It’s a stark reminder of the impact of conflict and violence. Though still an undercurrent in present Uganda, the conflict that was once here is a memory of itself in Kampala.
But Uganda reminds me of one important fact of expat life that Afghanistan often ignores. If there’s a local with the same skill set as me, I shouldn’t be here. In Afghanistan, it’s a different world, it’s a different expat world and local world and the borders between both are defined more starkly than in Uganda. If “development” is a spectrum, than the larger national skilled workforce, the better.
For me on my side, I think it’s time I got some more qualifications.