Dea-tráthnóna agus Lá Shona Fhéile Pádraig! My dear Cherubim and Seraphim who grace this Blessed, most beautiful land we all live to love more and more with each passing moment; A stunning country it is, with the loveliest of climes, scenery so amazing and a delightful mélange of flora and fauna.
Taking one on a journey most enchanted, from Simba‘s Shea pride-lands in Kidepo, sailing past the Nile’s waters thundering ferociously over Murchison Falls; fluttering by Queen Elizabeth National Park’s ornithological marvels, swinging through Tarzan’s hangouts dotted about from the Entebbe Botanical gardens, to Budongo and Bwindi; From Lake Victoria’s tropical islands to riding astride Abyssinian ponies neighing betwixt zebras by the shores of Lake Mburo.
Sitting majestically nearby are the Alpinesque Rwenzoris, snow-capped off the equator, surrounded by some of the most incredible views with crater lakes peppered amongst neatly coiffed and manicured rolling hills dressed in pine, tea, coffee and banana green with bovine belles in the meadows in the shadows of the ranges. All this takes one on an imaginary journey reminiscent of the Sound of Music, tearing through King Kong, roaring past the Lion King, with a hint of Heidi & the tea, paddy & tropical beauty of Siam.
With Weather so lovely, forever mired in Spring and Summer; Uganda’s beautiful, and overflowing with warmth and mirth. Who can’t but be enthralled! Listening to the unforgettable sounds of the African night, and catching the scent of the rain as it approaches off the searing hot Savannah. Looking out and seeing the tropical Rain forest, stretching endlessly before you. Watching the kaleidoscope of colours waltzing by as the sun sashays to set over silver seas high up in the world’s rafters, with the equatorial starry night sky so close by one can almost reach out over the banisters and just about grab a constellation.
Life around the city is a joy too, with a culture scene so vibrant, from theatre to music and dance to nimble ladies shimmying with towers of clay pots balancing on weaved & plaited bobs. Even the sportily inclined can enjoy their exertions in pristine tropical environs from golf to cricket, football to hockey, rugby to Polo & Pimms, from sailing to motorsport, flying schools to fly fishing, to posh gyms with views over cascading waterfalls perfect for a cheesy shampoo advertorial. To probably the most Craic’king Saint Paddy’s Day celebrations anywhere out of Ireland; my who can beat us, we even have an Irish mayor.
To top all that, you have a really friendly atmosphere and a resilient, hopeful, ever smiling, fun loving, enterprising, Barclays Premiership football loving people. A people who over the years have bravely swatted torrid experiences aside and are recovering pretty well having mastered the art of thriving despite doldrums in the midst of entropy. With every little hiccup welcomed as the beauty of a solution raring to be unraveled. Even where jittery nerves once flourished like fluttering fowls are hearths now searing with soaring hope, once simmering hearts now fuelled by the remaining embers of inspiration rising from the dearth of the scorching earth; to give the children a reason to learn, & the wise a reason to smile again.
The economy is one of the fastest growing ones in the World, there are scores upon tens of thousands of students at any point in time and Louis Roederer Rosé’s gaze can’t but remain locked into the crystal ball, as the majority of the population is not quite old enough to attend champagne tastings for a fair few years yet. With all the plains in the land being beautifully black and fervently fertile, from the silted Nile to Kiprotich’s Sipi stomping grounds on the walls the Rift Valley, agriculture is on the rise as the main contributor to the economy, yielding bountiful harvests from flowers to cotton, rice to cocoa, tea, corn and coffee amongst others. The extractive industries are bubbling along swimmingly and the telecommunications and banking industries are doing particularly well too.
However, despite painting such a rather rosy story here, I do admit there may obviously be a few challenges as with any country in the world let alone an emerging economy and a growing democracy with a penchant for chaps, chips, bodas & local brew through bamboo straws. But I dare say; forget Cartiers or Mont Blancs… why is there anywhere else on God’s Good Earth where literally everyone can afford a Rolex a day?
With a very young population, it is important that any goodwill is focused towards promoting trade and investment. Hopefully trade will soon grow to take the baton from aid as the focus shifts towards more job creation in this developing tropical economy, improving access to value addition and improving standards of living by investing in education, energy, health and infrastructure. And with the incredible returns on investment in the region, who knows… wise investment in Uganda may well live to make a huge difference to some of the generous, selfless post-recession economies where most of the aid has traditionally come from.
Ladies and gentlemen, kindly charge your chalices, flutes and goblets, and rise, for A Toast, To the Land we live in; May it remain the land we Love to live in; and live to Love