Turn left at the jack fruit tree

In some parts of the world, finding your way around to a point of interest, X, should be as easy as Block C, XYZee Street, 3rd Avenue. And as it’s written is exactly as you’ll find it.

Karibuni kwa Uganda. In the Central Business District of cities and towns, places are rather easy to locate. Streets have names, plots have numbers and buildings have names. In some places  the order is a little haphazard but you eventually get where you need to go. After swimming through the sea of human bodies, that is.

Outside the city, and even within the city but outside the CBD, it takes a lot more than GPS and a good sense of direction to get where you’re going. You stand a far better chance with superb people skills, determination, eagle-like eye sight, and truck loads of patience. Because homes are not constructed here as they are in the west or other parts of the world with planned communities, planned homes, intricate urban planning et al, addresses become hard to locate. Here, land owners cut and sell their plots of land as they see fit. As long as an access road can be routed to that piece of land, it’ll be fragmented and sold. I know there are some rules, but some people ignore them. People will build their houses facing wherever, as they see fit.  In extreme cases, when the seller happens to be someone of questionable character you may even find yourself having purchased a piece of land without an access road. Ambulance chases are to lawyers in the west what land wrangles are to lawyers over here. Most places don’t have addresses. Nothing is recorded, unless it’s a place of business in a business area, you cannot look it up in a directory. And not even all places of business are recorded in directories. So directions to someone’s home could go something like this:

Continue reading