A town with a past and a future
As you drive southwest from Kampala along the shores of Lake Victoria, you cross the Equator. Twenty minutes later, you arrive in Lukaya, a bustling and rapidly developing town. The town’s population grew from 14,000 in 2002 to more than 25,000 in 2017. It continues to rise.
Historically, Lukaya was the stopping point for travelers between Kampala and Mbarara. More recently, it became a stop where long-distance truck drivers could eat and rest. This gave rise to a lively prostitution business resulting in HIV/AIDS in Lukaya that is 3 to 4 times higher than the national average. In the last several years, opportunities for women have diversified. Prostitution has decreased, but the result of such a high rate of HIV continues to have an impact. Children under 15, including many orphans, outnumber the adult population. Under such conditions, many children receive little care. It is common to see preschoolers taking care of their younger siblings. Slightly older children will likely be out on the street selling fruits or other items.