Monday, June 8, 2009

Journey to Kingfisher

Hi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in today and have by now dissected your room of any insects/snakes.

Today we had a lazy start to the day by sleeping in and getting checked out of Red Chili (*tear). The thoughts of leaving Uganda are starting to become a reality. While some are ready, many wish their experience could be extended. I think those closest to me know my opinion on the matter :). After lunch at MUBS, we went and exchanged shillings for dollars and then headed out to Jinga. On the way to Jinja, we made a quick pit stop to pick up a mechanic for Prof. Senteza and arrived at Kingfisher around 7. We enjoyed supper around 8 and had the night to do what we pleased. Overall, I would personally say they day moved by just as fast as any of our other busy days, even though we did not do a whole lot.

One thing that I noticed on the drive here was a stark contrast in the road conditions from Kampala to Jinja compared to most of our previous journeys. Usually we have to navigate around potholes and get stuck behind slower vehicles until its safe to pass. Today we had four lanes for most of the trip and there were even painted lines on the roads. I have been closely noting the transportation system in Uganda during our stay and I feel like the nice roads today were not a random coincidence. I feel like the highway was nicer here because if you keep going east, you will run into Kenya--one of the more developed African countries. I think Uganda and its merchants have figured out that their success is directly proportional to Kenya's involvement. Does anyone else have any observations or opinions as to why the roads leading east would be a lot nicer than the roads leading west (such as the road to Mbarara)? Or do you recognize any other benefits to having a nicer road that connects the capital city of Uganda to Kenya?

2 comments:

  1. I wandered the same thing and asked a few MUBS students and got similiar, but different answers.

    I think you are absolutely right, Franklin, that the roads that head east are nicer because it leads to a more civilized country (Kenya). With the nicer roads, farmers are able to export their goods much easier and are able to make more of a profit, which benefits the government. Hence, these roads should be nicer. Since the country is landlocked, Uganda needs to have ways to export their goods to another country, and having "good" roads to Kenya might be a way that they are doing this.

    Or, we could be reading too deep into this and this was one of the last roads that they decided to pave since it wasnt done for awhile.

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  2. It was clear that on our ride east, the roads were a not nicer and recently constructed or improved on. In a country where money is not easily accessible for things such as road infrastructure, not all roads can be worked on. When thinking about where it makes the most sense to have the nicest roads, roads leading to Kenya make the most sense. Because Uganda is land locked, in order for trade, roads to Kenya are crucial. So, these conditions being better going east, logically make sense and ease Uganda's process of exportations and importations. It is clear that road infrastructure is a problem in Uganda.

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