MIND: Uganda: looking For A Pen Friend.
Felix (b.1986 )
Kiganda Mathias (b.1975)
If you and one of these people decide to become pen friends, please write us. If in correspondence you have problems of understanding we are willing to help you.
Frida has six children and lives in Nababirye, Mbulamoti sub-county. Her second name is Kalimo. She told us she would like to write with a pen friend. Your letter is likely to arrive if you write
Frida lives in Uganda, 100 km north of the Victoria Lake, and in my
memory something like 15km from any road where a car could be seen. She has a
farm, yielding food and school fees for her children. She works alone, but
because she is very smart and hard working she is well above the Uganda farm
average in productivity and as a result all her children can go to school. But
that means working hard indeed.
Frida was at school herself and finally learnt to repair electrical household equipment, from TV's to fridges. But in the war-time she and her husband decided to leave town and go to this far away place in the bush. People do not live close together there, but each has a house on the plot, So houses are spread all over, on average distances of 100m or so. The only electrical thing Frida repairs every now and then in her house without power is a tiny little radio. Its wires are connected in knots, and its always on a bed or table with the cover open, because the required nuts and bolts to restore order are no priority to buy. Often, there is no money for batteries, which I personally like, because as a European you like to be at a place without any type of engine, hearing only wind in trees, a barking dog, and a baby crying far away.
Frida's husband had more wives, as is usual in many parts of Uganda. Women are used to it. But in their case, some problems made them decide to separate. The house they had built was left to Frida, but now she has to take care of her six children alone. Her husband does not contribute anything.
Normally, if you dine at someone's house in Uganda, the women are outside, preparing the meal, and you as a guest are sitting in the room with the men. The women eat outside too. Contact with a family is supposed to go over the males. Not in Frida's house. There, I was sitting at the dinner table together with Frida and her niece, who is also a "woman bachelor", with two children. Together we were giggling a little bit about how nice it felt to desert from the Uganda etiquette. In Uganda one can easily get the impression that the males do the talking and the drinking, and the females do all the rest, including running the country for all practical purposes. And that is not really far from the truth. Women are the people on which the nation floats, and especially women who succeeded to rid themselves of the power males are supposed to have over them. On the photograph you see she's riding a bike. That is a dignity largely reserved for men in Uganda (and that is why bikes get damaged a lot because those who try to sit on them are drunk).
Frida prays in the Church of Uganda (the Uganda "Anglican" church). She is a central figure in her community. I saw her also act as a veterinarian, injecting a wounded calf of relatives (or neighbours, anyway most neighbours are relatives and most relatives are neighbours). And for toilet paper, I was given old proceedings of meetings she had as a member of a local committee trying to remove bottlenecks in growth of crop sizes, as I quietly read in her toilet (a small shed with a 10m deep hole).
I find Frida a very nice person and I feel we understand a lot of each other's thoughts. It is really a thrill to find someone so easy to deal with that it looks like she could be my Dutch neighbour, yet living in conditions that Dutch people would consider to be of unbearable poverty and hardship, and so smiling!
Frida asked me to find her a pen friend. She would like to learn about other people leading other lives in other cultures.
I am Francis Ssemwango living in Jijna (Uganda). I am at senior school. My address is
I can even be phoned: 00 256 073 130116.
My hobbies are swimmig, singing, English and making friends and research.
I would like to get a pen friend in Holland by wellcoming both the female and the male youth.
My name is Nahayo Felix.
My main hobbies: swimming, playing basketball in clubs.
Other hobbies are playing football, reading novels.
My address is:
NAME: Victor Nahayo
CLASS: Primary 6
SCHOOL: St Nicholas
Above: Victor on the MIND Foundation motorcycle.
HOBBIES: swimming, watching motorcycle races
Kiganda Mathias (b.1975)
Mathias Kiganda lives in Jinja and is a carpenter. He would like to write with someone working in or interested in carpentry, to exchange ideas. Write to: