Communication Tips

One question that is often raised by volunteers is how can they communicate with family and friends while in Kampala, Uganda. The two main ways are by cell phone and the internet.

Cell Phone
Many volunteers will simply bring their mobile phone from home and pay enormous roaming charges upon their next bill back home. There is a simpler and much cheaper way. Bring an unlocked mobile GSM (ATT or Sprint) quad phone that will work on the local Ugandan system that has 900 1800 megahertz frequency, buy a sim card for about 1USD, a little airtime and your talking.  

Or, if you do not have a phone that will access the Ugandan system, simply go to a mobile provider like UTEL once you are here and buy their cheapest phone for about 15 to 20USD with a sim card. Then buy some airtime and you are in touch with your family and friends.

I have volunteers who partner together to buy a phone and airtime then share the time. It is simple and cheap.

Internet
Internet cafes can be found throughout the city. Some lodges where we stay have access to the internet. This is a very inexpensive way to maintain contact with friends and family.

Internet Update!
Here is great news! Uganda Kolping where the teams of Summer 2011 will be staying has wi-fi available! At least, it was up and running in January, 2011. Some team members were able to skype with their families for free. One volunteer had a Magic Jack and was able to call home for free! My iphone was able to connect to the wi-fi signal and I sent and received emails without problem.

There is a warning that should be given here. Sometimes the internet system in Uganda can be down and often it is very slow. The wi-fi at Kolping could go down and stay down. Just because it worked then, doen’t mean that it works now or when you will be there. But I will take my laptop and plan on skyping with my family.

Bottom line: You should be able to communicate with loved ones back home fairly inexpensively and consistently.