My Entebbe Airport experience is mixed.
In all fairness, in October 2022, I forgot my hand luggage at baggage claims. Complete with my precious knickknacks gathered during the course of my travels. I realised it when I got home….
REASON: Those smelly touts who hover over returned passengers, ogling and making nasty remarks at women, asking ‘muzungu females’ if they are married and calling me “baibe..naange nkusobola’, this person said it in that way that has absolutely nothing to do with the luggage you are waiting for:-
Tired, fatigued and hungry, they went ahead to start blocking us at times from claiming our luggage. The hassle was hectic. All this while, trying to frustrate you enough into paying them to pick your luggage. Their supervisor, ‘was not around’ to call them to order when I asked.
On getting home, I realised that I had forgotten one piece of luggage. I found it intact. Neither have I ever been ‘tried” with an experience of extortion of any kind.
Dear Civil Aviation Authority, ENHAS and all other entities working at the only international airport that Uganda has; if you must employ all your distant cousins and their inlaws, at the very least, train and professionalise them to deserve the job.
I was not lucky on the next leg, my new suitcases had been broken into and vandalised. I reported it to the airline and left it at that.
Next is that clan of tribemates who sit at the check-in entrance….one of them, a guy, referred to me as “ogumudokori muchekinge!!!!” as he walked away and handed over to his colleague. As far as he was concerned, he had spoken well.
The derogatory, ethnic profiling, the language of speech whilst on public duty, the assumption that I would not understand…I simply let it go in the moment and consoled myself that maybe, I misheard what I had heard. Anti it is not my primary language. Osanga, I heard my own things.
Then there are their lazy counterparts who sit by the window and converse in ‘their language’ oblivious to the official languages of speech whilst on public duty in Uganda. Never mind our colonial challenges. As if they are at a family gathering. They forget that they are public servants, serving fully paid consumers whose expenditure pays their salaries.
By all means, employ your relatives and friends all over the airport. But please, be professional, and offer satisfactory service as a bare minimum. Because, every passenger transiting through is a fully prepaid consumer, not a beggar.
I am curious to see how they are going to deal with all the names and persons who have been brought forward. Herein lies a very pregnant opportunity for them to prove their statement. (take disciplinary action)
In the meantime, may collective social activism to gain consumer justice prevail to realise actual service transformation at Entebbe airport. I mean, try these shenanigans in Rwanda and see how many hours after being reported that you remain at the same job…I wish we had a bit; just a bit of that pragmatism in fighting corruption…
How far would we be in this blessed country that we call home?! Just imagine the possibilities.