Background Reading for Volunteers in Uganda
Uganda will always have a very special place in my heart as it was where I volunteered with VSO back in 1997.
Like many African countries, Uganda has its notorious violent history and in parts of Uganda this continues today. But for the most part Uganda is an open and friendly place where volunteers are welcomed with grace and humour. A big smile is never far away in Uganda. A few books to get you started then…..
By Andrew Rice. A 384 page hardcover, published in April 2009.
Across Africa, many countries are faced with the legacy of a violent past. Many are still looking to find the best way to deal with it and move forward both as human beings and as a nation.
Andrews book could be described as part mystery, partly a historical account and definitely as a snapshot of the Africa of today. “The Teeth may Smile, But the Heart Does Not Forget” is an exploration of how and even if, the past can ever be laid to rest.
By Andrew JH Sharp. A 371 page paperback, published in May 2009.
‘This deeply moving book will leave you thoughtful for long after you have read it’ said Ann Widdecombe MP.
It is a mixed novel for sure, African, European, love, tragedy, medicine and cultural undoings, all set in the spectacular setting of Uganda. Andrew is an East Midlands doctor with strong family ties to East Africa where he has lived and worked. His grandfather even owned an island there!
By Dr Therone Wade. A 176 page paperback, published in December 2007
A fast paced entertaining novel that contains enough true and engaging stories to educate you and will evoke a variety of emotions.
From the harsh streets of public housing in America to the rural villages of Uganda, Dr Wade takes a remarkable missionary journey into the unknown.
Therone is a husband, father and has been an educator in the arts and postsecondary education for over ten years. Although flawed and fragile, Wade travels across the street and across the sea to Uganda, armed with compassion and education for those who seek it.
By Terry Stevenson et al. A 670 page paperback, published in December 2004.
Don’t laugh! Believe me, even if you think that you aren’t interested in our feathered friends, East Africa will change your mind. The bird life is simply stunning in its diversity, spectacular plumage and incredible aerial displays. I was already in country and hadn’t given it a thought, so had to ‘ship’ mine in at great cost! You know that it will annoy you not knowing their proper names…..
By Giles Foden. A 352 page paperback, published in Jan 2007.
Of course I had to include this book! It’s arguably one one of the most ‘famous’ books about Uganda in print today. Flawed, of course historically but hey, its a novel! And a very enjoyable one at that.
Foden grew up in Africa and you definitely pick that up from his work, that ‘sense’ of Africa that others who have lived there will understand.
By Manzoor Maghal. A 180 page paperback, published in March 2010.
I debated where to put this book…the top or the bottom! You can see what won. Although I don’t intend to play down Idi Amin’s role in Uganda, I didn’t want it to be a first impression either.
However, no visit to Uganda is complete without understanding a little of this huge figure of East African politics. Moghals book is especially relevant as he met Amin several times and quotes from his own memoirs.
Of course, these are just a few of my personal favorites, put together to give someone going to Africa for possibly the first time a ‘flavour’ of Uganda. However, if you need a more specific book head into amazon below and have an explore.
Don’t forget to drop me a line if you think I have missed out something essential!