Optimism reigns in the city of Lira

Adina Foundation Uganda is located in Lira, a city with well over 200,000 inhabitants. It is a busy administrative city with increasing activity, according to local businesses. Now people feel secure in the future after more than 20 years of civil war, and more dare to invest in new business activities.

Slowly but surely, a new shopping center is also growing with a facade facing the main street, named after the city's big son Milton Obote, the country's first prime minister and later president. The World Bank has now taken over the entire project management, and thus there is hope that there will really be immigration within the next year.

The city center has previously been "enriched" with four petrol stations, and a bunch of bank branches with ATMs. But it is the street shopping - the outdoor shops that still dominate the street scene. In the dry season, this is probably quite hassle-free under the equator. Here they are for everyone who sells fresh pineapple, offers charging of mobile phones, bicycles, motorcycles and live chickens. A little secluded is also a butcher shop.

This street scene that visitors experience as charming and very real Lira, will be changed when the center is completed. The plans say that the sidewalk shops closest to the carriageway will be rehabilitated, but in the adjacent side streets, our prediction is that most things will remain the same for many years to come.

The alleys with the city's food market protrude from the main street. Fruit and onions abound, and here in plus 30 are huge pieces of fish waiting for buyers. The flies buzz wildly around the fresh produce, and we assume that the body should be quite familiar with the local bacterial flora for it to be safe to buy food here. Otherwise, most things can be bought in the alleys.

Our "basecamp" - Lira Hotel, is within walking distance of the city center, and the ride to and from the apostles' horses is safe, as long as everyone is aware of an unstoppable maelstrom of cyclists, cars and motorcycles. Pedestrians have the absolute lowest priority, and all crossing of the streets takes place at your own risk. Bicycles with a cushion on the luggage rack are so-called boda boda, ie efficient and affordable bicycle taxis. It goes a little fresher for those who dare to take a seat on a motorcycle that is registered as boda boda.

The road home to Lira Hotel passes a car wash and a place where the women wash and dry their clothes. It's okay to lay the garments out in the grass for the sun and a gentle breeze fixes most things. We also walk past a mosque that is well started, but currently it is mostly used by grazing goats and children playing.

Lira Rehabilitation Center and Adina Foundation Uganda have become an important employer in Lira with a total of 22 employees at the center and at Adina Farm.