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To: Wor Bro C Moroukian
Secretary Lodge Cape Town
Fraternal greetings from Uganda to you and all the brethren of Lodge Cape Town. May I first congratulate you on winning the Best Ritual Lodge of Southern Division, well done to you all.
I realise there are many brethren who have never met me, although I have been a Freemason in the Southern Division for more than 20 years. I joined Lodge St James in 1991, proposed by Bro. Dave Cowley, becoming Master of the lodge in 1997/8.
When St James went into recess in 2002 I became one of the founding members of Lodge Cape Town.
Soon after that I started to travel away from home and for the last nine years I’ve hardly spent any time in Cape Town.
Work has taken me to the UK for three years, followed by four years in Johannesburg and another two years with the software company, SAP in Nairobi, Kenya.
I left Nairobi late last year to start a new SAP partnership here in Kampala. I’ve spent my entire working life in information technology, starting in England working with ancient mainframe computers in the late 1960s. So I’ve been lucky to witness at close hand the explosive growth of one of the most exciting, fast paced industries of the last 50 years. Now I’m in the privileged position of transferring some of that knowledge and experience to young graduates who are keen to make a career in IT.
I’m now living in Uganda, one of the poorest countries in the world and it’s humbling to see so many people living in utter poverty. But there are definite pros and cons to living here.
On the negative side, there are power cuts every day, and potholes in the road so large you could lose a double decker bus in one!
Also the standard of driving is unbelievably bad, it’s every man for himself resulting in traffic jams day and night. Virtually every vehicle has dents, scratches and bumps.
The taxi drivers here make their SA counterparts seem like they are driving Miss Daisy (and those in Nairobi are even worse).
But there also are many benefits, amazing business opportunities, friendly, gentle people, a very low crime rate, and weather that’s warm all year round.
There are no seasons here on the equator in Central Africa, it’s either hot and wet or hot and dry.
There are many things I miss about South Africa and Cape Town in particular. The beach – I’m far from the coast here, which I find very frustrating, the mountain (of course), braais with good friends, and so many of those amazing goodies from Woolworth’s food shops. I also miss the camaraderie and friendship of the lodge, there’s nothing else quite like it.
I really appreciate the weekly PGL updates and the minutes you send me. There are no lodges here in Uganda so your communication helps me to stay in touch with the Brethren and with what’s happening at home in Cape Town.
I’m still a co-opted member of the Grand Lodge Education Committee and I’m kept busy with enquiries to join and requests from all over the world for various articles from my database. Recently I’ve sent items to Brazil, Greece, Australia, UK & USA and several countries across Africa. Of course, the requests that I appreciate most are the ones from our own BB at Lodge Cape Town, so please keep those requests coming.
I’m not sure how long I will be staying here in Uganda, I guess as long as I’m still making money, but my goal has always been to return to Cape Town, although having spent so much time on the equator I would have a lot of difficulty getting used to the weather again. I hope you realise just what a special place Cape Town is, having travelled extensively I can tell you that there is nowhere on earth quite like it, I’m envious of you living there.
I look forward to receiving more updates and news about the Southern Division and Lodge Cape Town in particular and may you continue to go from strength to strength. I hope to be able to enjoy some fellowship with you all very soon.
With warm fraternal regards,
Wor. Bro. Michael Watkins
+256 772 726 001
PO Box 7547