Hopes and Expectations of Expats Living in Uganda
By Safaa Garelnabi
Public Health Nutritionist/ Freelance Online Tutor and Writer
January is the most exciting month of the year where we revive our personal and professional goals. As we look forward to a new year and beginnings, Safaa Garelnabi engages with the expat community in Uganda to gain insights of their expectations for 2022.
Ms. Faye is a British teacher at an international school in Uganda, living here for two and a half years now.
Uganda has a youth population of over 70%, many of which are waiting to return to university, business or look for job opportunities.
Ms. Faye is anxious for schools to re-open. The impact on both academic and social and emotional development has been huge. She is grateful to have been able to still teach online but it is by no means ideal.
“The impact on the national schools has been even greater obviously and will be a huge positive for 2022 if reopened.”
As an expatriate working in the education system in Uganda, Ms. Faye hopes that Uganda will begin to resume some normality in the New Year with the expectations that restrictions will be lifted.
Ms. Faye hopes that the hospitality and tourism sector will recover. It will also be nice to find that balance again as the pandemic took its toll on work-life balance and mental health due to the isolation it causes.
Faye is excited to explore Uganda again, get out there and meet new people. She also hopes it brings more job creation and economic stability for Ugandan nationals and many are able to re-establish their businesses and schooling.
“I don’t think 2022 will instantly be easy and ‘back to the norm’ but there’s hope and a definite need for life to begin to finally resume. I felt I barely scratched the surface before the pandemic hit so would love to travel more.”
She also emphasizes her 2022 new year resolutions are to travel within Uganda – The Pearl of Africa and explore more its nature and beauty.
Ms. Crawford is an American Board Art Therapist and Licensed Clinical and Mental Health therapist with over eight of years of experience. She specializes in trauma, grief and loss, psychotherapy of adolescents and many more.
Ms. Crawford worked in Uganda since late 2008 to early 2009, primarily working with street kids in child protection. She decided to fully move back in March 2021and currently works at Center for Peace (psychosocial, education and community engagement), a community based organization based in Kampala and Gulu. It is where she practices most of her mental health services from and also offers trainings for mental health workers.
“I’m definitely torn in between 2021 to 2022. I am really grateful because the work that I do is needed during not just a pandemic. A lot of people are finding that they want counselling services so I am grateful to be in this line of work. But I would love for us to find our new normal and be able to travel about and socialize.”
In 2022, she would love to explore more of the Western regions in Uganda- Fort Portal, Kabale (Gorilla Trekking) and many more.
Another Organization that she works for is called Mind Lab – a Ugandan founded and run NGO that offer 1 on 1 therapy services. Majority (90%) of her case load are Ugandan citizens both men and women seeking therapy.
Ms. Crawford also offers therapy services to US clients including expatriates in Uganda. She also has experience with the American Embassy and has experience working with humanitarian workers and would love to offer her services to anyone else interested.
Her new years’ resolutions are: “continuing to seek gratitude through what I also establish home, further stability and anchor in East Africa.”
PASCQA LORNA ABUR
Ms. Lorna is aUgandan tourism expert- travel blogger/writer and mountaineer with significant knowledge and experience in leading and managing tourism adventures. She is passionate about the sustainability of the tourism industry in Uganda and well-versed with the Ugandan economy and climate.
Despite the pandemic, 2021 was a busy year for the Tourism industry as a number of programme objectives were put in place to address a few constraints ranging from the promotion of domestic and inbound tourism, to improving the quality of tourism infrastructure, develop, conserve and diversify tourism products and services, amongst many others.
Lorna is optimistic about 2022 and is looking forward to the revival of Uganda’s economy, tourism industry, small and medium sized enterprises and the general day to day social lives of Ugandans.
The number of international tourists visiting Uganda has increased and it is quite visible that tourism is steadily picking up. Stringent COVID-19 safety measures have been put in place right from the Entebbe International Airport to the various touristic sites and conservation areas within the country.
Many of us may not have a clear picture of what 2022 will bring us, but let us be optimistic, yet also realistic and adaptable. Let us confront our physical, social, emotional, spiritual, mental health and make this year, a memorable one.