UMCAT: School of Journalism, Mass Communication and Business Studies #TFBloggers


We spotted the sign for this on the first day – right next door to our guest house, so Friday morning, whilst waiting for the broken down truck to be repaired – we had an opportunity to pop into the building. Not sure many English universities would like it if you just popped in and asked to look around.


We were met by the Academic Registrar, who was really pleased to show us round, ensuring that we also signed the visitors book.


The School first opened in Kampala in 1996, and opened this one in Soroti in 2010 – with the first students about to graduate in March. There’s expected to be around 40 who will have submitted reports from their internships, from a total of 170 students across all years.


Many of the students were sat outside in groups, or round a table with a tutor – small groups of 4-5, although there are two lecture halls (reminded me of a garage) that seats 40 – with a large chalk board.


All teaching is done face-to-face, there’s no online learning, although they hope to one day – but many students don’t have computers. The schools that we’ve seen in the villages are most definitely ‘learn by rote’, so this looks more interactive! The courses started off as journalism courses, but have expanded to include business development – all to diploma level.


There’s a small sound-proofed radio booth – this can only be heard within the school (on FM), but is good practice, and makes it easier for students to get internships which appear to be core to the course. We also saw the computer room, with around 9 screens running off one CPU – none with the internet.


Many of the students do have phones, but again, mostly for talking as smart phones are too expensive. These are used extensively, and indeed, in every spare socket a phone was plugged in charging. The school has several ‘self-help’ type inspirational notices, as in this country it does appear to be survival of the fittest, but the school indicated that this gives students a good chance at a job – within the sector… but that social media isn’t on the curriculum.


You can see more about the School at


The Food So Far: #TFBloggers

So yesterday, on Facebook I put a photo of our meal the evening before “pork and Irish”:


We always know that food will get people talking, and heading off to foreign climes always gives the opportunity to be exposed to other cuisine.

We established pretty early that any restaurant menus are a work of aspiration rather than reality … it comes down to the same choices as we get at our guesthouse each evening:

  • Meat: Chicken, Fish, Pork or Beef
  • Carb: Chips, “Irish”, Rice, Boiled Potato or Chappati

We’re grateful as it means we do get to ring the changes each day – and thankfully as I’m not a great one for whole fish – the choice does include filleted fish. Jay Butcher, who visited Ogongora 18 months ago was surprised to hear that there was pork (less common with a large Muslim population) – but we’ve had it twice (once in the guesthouse & once in the village) … I’m wondering if that’s a sign of success of the PEP process as in the photo below we see that Pastor Pete has 2:

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When we’re in the village, we are treated “royally” – which can actually be quite distressing seeing what the children eat – some kind of porridge made of millet – which may be the only meal that they get all day:

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We, meanwhile, are seated up at the front – and our job is to show appreciation for the food (whilst being aware that any leftovers are available for the villagers) – as this feast is spread out before us:


There has been a big pile of rice each day (served with a bowl), plus some meat, some sauce, and a few other things – below is the infamous ‘goat stew’ we had been warned about – pretty tasty – I’d eat it again (less ‘stringy’ than much of the other meat):

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Simon Martin on Facebook said “In NW Uganda, staple diet is Enya – like brown playdough, made with cassava and millet or sorghum flour” – which I think must be the below (tastes like wet paper, with the consistency of wallpaper paste):

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Yesterday we had the opportunity to watch our dinner being made – in a very hot and smoky hut – spot the chicken’s feet in the pot (and the undeveloped eggs are taken from the slaughtered chicken and eaten also):


We do know that our meals have been pre-paid for but it’s difficult to know that others are watching, but they just seem happy that we’re happy…

And one thing that’s an essential for the food is a bit of a ritual with hand washing … Although we all have handwashing gel, the village has had the importance of handwashing drummed into them, so it’s important that they see us doing it too. Someone comes around with a jug, a bowl and a piece of soap – and we rinse and shake!


Interesting to hear how rice is a growing foodstuff – we’ve had it every day – but before (and maybe it’s just been for us) – more of a use of millet and sorghum.