Business Picks Up at Namugongo

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In short
URN visited Namugongo on Tuesday morning and found hundreds of cloth dealers along the road adjacent to the shrines. The vendors were selling bed-sheets, sweaters, dresses, shirts and t-shirts as well as shoes of all kind.

Business is picking up at Namugongo Martyrs Shrine ahead of the Martyrs Day celebrations on Saturday. Several traders are already cashing in on the early pilgrims, but say they expect to make huge sells as more pilgrims arrive.

URN visited Namugongo  and found hundreds of cloth dealers along the road adjacent to the shrines. The vendors were selling bed-sheets, sweaters, dresses, shirts and t-shirts as well as shoes of all kind.

Rose Beleke, one of the people who have already pitched camp in Namugongo, says she expects many buyers. "People are already buying but as the numbers increase, I expect more buyers. I am selling jumpers and bed sheets because I know there are many people who will come without them. Yesterday I went home with about Shillings 200,000. It was not a bad day," she said.

Moses Kabuli, another vendor, told URN he was sealing low cost Shirts. "I hope some pilgrims may come here with few clothes that can get dirty before they leave. Of course, they will be coming to buy shirts and t-shirts. It is my first time here and I believe I will get sales by end of the week."

Several food vendors have also set up stalls to offer affordable meals to the pilgrims. A plate of food in the makeshift restaurants costs between Shilling 4000 and Shillings 5000 with meat while food with beans or groundnuts sauce costs between Shillings 3000 to 3,500.

Some of the pilgrims describe the food prices as fair, saying they don't expect them to go up. Sam Mwesigye, a pilgrim from Kabale diocese said; "I budgeted to Shillings 6000 for meals daily. I will be taking one meal and breakfast in the morning. I will also be eating low cost food stuffs like maize and cassava to ensure."

"I think the food prices are good because even in the villages where we come from we can't get cheap food," Mwesigye added. Telecom and beverages companies have also set up tents around Namugongo to market their products. They include among others Coca Cola, Pepsi, Riham, MTN, Africell and Airtel.
 
According to information from the organizers, more than 800 pilgrims had already arrived at Namugongo by Tuesday evening. More than two million pilgrims are expected to grace this year's martyrs' day celebrations on Saturday.
 
Hoima diocese will lead this year's celebration on behalf of the ecclesiastic province of Mbarara Arch diocese. This year's celebration is under the theme"stand firm in the faith that we have been taught." The theme is drawn from Corinthians Chapter 2, verse 7.