The Abayudaya of
Abayudaya Jews of Uganda:
Home Page for the Abayudaya created by
Matthew Meyer, a visitor from the United States
to the community in 1992 who has returned several
times and has provided a tremendous amount of
support for the community. The page offers links
to bibliographic references about the Abayudaya
and information about how to order Abayudaya-made
kippot, the Abayudayas CD, and Abayudaya-farmed
Visit to Uganda:
An account by Kulanu member Karen Primack
of her visit to the Abayudaya community. Other
accounts of visits to Abayudaya are available on the
Kulanu web site.
History of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda" :
History written by Arye Oded, Israeli
diplomat and visitor to the Abayudaya community.
Kakungulu, Jewish Warrior? : Irwin
Bergs summary of historian Michael Twaddles
book about Abayudaya community founder, Semei
Kakungulu (Twaddle, Michael. Semei Kakungulu and
the Origins of Uganda, Ohio University Press,
1993. -- To order a copy, try Amazon.com).
If you would like to contact the Abayudaya, you may write to the community by sending a letter to:
The Abayudaya Community
P.O. Box 225
Sending a letter to Uganda takes a couple weeks.
You may also send an e-mail to either Israel Siriri, chairman of the community, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Aaron Kintu Moses, head of Hadassah, acting rabbi and overall educational director, at email@example.com.
Would you like to visit the Abayudaya? Contact the Abayudaya at the above addresses to indicate your interest in visiting and tell them when you plan to arrive and how long you would like to stay. You will be able to communicate about specific issues such as whether you’ll stay with one of the community members or whether you’ll stay in the community’s guest house (about $10 a night). If you spend time in the community they will likely provide you with a guide who will take you to visit different Abayudaya households, and they will also provide you with food – you’ll eat what they eat. You will have to provide your own bottled water, since they don’t have any – buy some in town. The Abayudaya won’t ask for any money in exchange for their generosity, but do give a donation to the community. Most members of the community speak English, so you will have no trouble communicating.
Mbale is in the eastern part of Uganda. To get to Mbale, fly in to the international airport of Entebbe. Round trip flights from the United States to Uganda cost about $1500, though you may get a better deal depending on when you are going and where you buy you ticket (an honest discount ticket broker will save you a lot of money – check the Sunday New York Times travel section for deals). Take a shared taxi from the airport to the capital city of Kampala, which should take well less than an hour. You will get to an incredibly busy shared taxi pick up area. Ask people to direct you to a shared taxi that will take you to Mbale.
Arrange to meet the Abayudaya in Mbale. If for some reason the Abayudaya can not meet you in town, take a shared taxi to “Makadui Trading Center.” From the Makadui Trading Center ask people to direct you to the Semei Kakungulu High School, which is just up Nabugoye Hill from the Trading Center. Rabbi Gershom and Tziporah live on Nabugoye Hill.
If you are unfamiliar with traveling in Africa (for example, if you’re not familiar with the concept of a “shared taxi”) I recommend picking up a copy of Lonely Planet’s Uganda travel guide. The Lonely Planet books are invaluable for their practical advice while you’re budget traveling in Africa. If you’re curious about prices or distances between points, consult the Lonely Planet guide and you’ll get a pretty good idea of the current rates and bus timetables. If not, contact me and I’ll give you advice.
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