Friday, May 13, 2011

Our Uganda Friday: Rockin' Von Achen

by Darlyne Komukama

This week, your resident Awava blogger, thought it would be fun to bring you, our faithful readers, an insight into our wonderful Founding Director, Kate Von Achen's life here in Uganda. The Boss Lady, as I like to refer to her, found time in her busy busy schedule to answer some questions for me.

Blogger (Me): Hey Boss Lady, how are you doing today?

Boss Lady (BL): Today is good! Getting lots of work done and quite thankful that it's Friday and there are no riots!

Me: So what is a typical weekend like for you in Kampala?

BL: Do I have to answer that? Generally speaking I frequently have a nice mixture of work and play on the weekends. I always end up doing something with friends, weather it's going to dinner, going out dancing or to see live music or having BBQs or parties at houses.

Me: Share with us who your favourite Ugandan artists and musicians are?

BL:I would have to say my favorite Ugandan Artist is Wasswa Donald ( There are several amazing artists here whose work I absolutely love, but right now, Wasswa is my number one! As far as musicians go, that's tricky. It really depends on my mood. I'm currently really excited about Mys Natty and The Majestiks right now, and I love Sebunjo Joel.

Me: What does Awava's Boss Lady do to unwind after a particularly hard Awava work day?

BL: More often than not I watch a movie or TV series, but typically I fall asleep during the opening credits. It helps me to switch something mindless on to attempt to get my brain to switch off. Lately I've been streaming a lot of films about or by Salvador Dali and short films by Jan Svankmajer on YouTube. Really interesting stuff.

Me: If you have any, what are your gripes about living in Uganda?

BL: How much time do you have? I've been living here for about four years so clearly I love Uganda, BUT there are several things I can find to gripe about. To keep it simple I would say all of my complaints stem from the root problems of general infrastructure and poor governance. And then, of course, there's the anti-gay bill which is being voted on in Parliament today.....

Me: What do you miss most about Uganda when you go back home to visit?

BL: When I'm away I guess I miss my life the most, if that makes sense. My normalcy is here (Uganda) now which is funny. I mean, I got home and it feels 100% like home, but I guess for me, a creature of habit and structure (even if it doesn't look super structured to the outside eye), home is where your stuff is. I feel incredibly disorganized without my desk. I can focus without my normal work space. It's actually kind of funny. I always miss my friends when I'm away from them, but we're all quite good at staying in touch so even when we're far apart, it doesn't hurt as much, but the internet has yet to find a way to make my bed, desk and cats seem right there. Come of Apple, develop that app already!

Me: Finally, how awesome is your Assistant Country Director, yours truly? ;)

BL: Awava's Assistant Country Director is AWESOME! Seriously, I have been so lucky to find so many amazing people to bring on board. Hanna and Darlyne (co-assistants) have really positively influenced all aspects of Awava's growth which I am beyond thankful for. We would absolutely not be anywhere near where we are without them!

Me: Thank you for this rare glimpse into your life. Enjoy your weekend.

It's nice to get to know the people behind the brands that you support and I hope you have all enjoyed that glimpse into Kate's life here in Uganda. Enjoy your week.

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