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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Expectations in 2010

Students and Faculty from Drake will be returning to Kampala in May, 2010! The faculty are excited to return to Uganda and see our friends and colleagues in Uganda. It is their help and guidance that has makes this experience such a wonderful learning opportunity for the students from both universities. We have high expectations for this year's trip. Officials from MUBS are visiting the Drake campus this spring and we are hoping to work out details of future exchanges which may allow students and faculty from both universities the chance to spend extended time at each others campus. We stated the goal last year of finding ways to get MUBS students to Drake, this is a giant step in that direction. This year we have a large group with 28 students from Drake excited to arrive in Uganda in May. Just as the talks between the universities have progressed since our last post in June, much has happened in Uganda and in its efforts toward sustainable development since the last post. In preparing for the trip the students traveling this year have been keeping track of current events in Uganda. I would like each of the Drake students to comment to this entry with a description of something they have recently learned about Uganda and how it has impacted their expectations for the trip in May. What questions have developed from your readings and research? What events are you most looking forward to? What questions do you have that will help you develop your research papers?


  1. Prof your welcome, please you can bring your whole faculty.
    Alot is going on at the Stock Market.

    Muhimbise Uganda

  2. I recently learned that Uganda has a very strong religious background, specifically evangelical and Anglican, which is something I didn't really expect. I am very passionate about my relationship with God so the religion in Uganda is what I was most interested in so now I'm really looking forward to seeing how the religion has impacted the lives of the Ugandans and how they live out their faith in their every day life.

    I'm most looking forward to the rural visit I think, there is so much that we get to do but I really want to see that the average Ugandan Joe is like - what they do, how they think, how they act, stuff like that. I'm also interested in seeing the churches and other religious events.

    As for questions, I don't have many so far, it's still kind of unreal to me that I'm actually going. I'm sure I will have tons later but for now not much.

  3. In the recent past I have done a lot more studying and research on the business world in Uganda, and I have come to realize how much they have grown in even just the past decade. Being a business student this information really interests me, and to find out that their economy has really peaked in these last 5 years is really fascinating, and it makes me wonder where Uganda will be in the 5 years to come. I’ve always thought of Africa as an underdeveloped, poverty stricken country, and even though that may have been true in the past, times are changing, and countries are doing everything that it takes to get and stay ahead. I am curious to find out what businesses in countries like Uganda are doing, and tactics that they are employing to grow in revenue and trade.

    One of the things that I am most looking forward to would have to be meeting up with the Makerere University Business School, MUBS. Just to have a chance to talk with students and listen to the education that they have had will be interesting, and getting to know the types of things they are learning about and being able to compare it to what is being taught in the United States will be very cool.

    At this moment I do not have any questions about the trip, or at least none that come to mind. I am so excited to get to be a part of this experience, I cannot wait for it to begin!

  4. I thought it was so interesting to read the articles Dr. Bishop gave us that tied Uganda back to Des Moines. When you think about Uganda and other foreign countries, you don't really imagine that there is a connection back to Des Moines.

    I've also been researching tourism and ecotourism in Uganda for my presentation and research project. I'm interested to learn more about what people in the country have to say about how indigenous tribes were kicked out of their ancestral lands for the creation of national parks. I'd like to learn the full scope of the social impacts tourism has had that haven't been as positive and beneficial as the financial gains.

    I'm looking forward to visiting the national parks, although I think my point of view will be somewhat tainted knowing the social injustices that occurred to create many of the national parks in the country.

    Questions I have for my research:

    How do people in the country view the national parks and tourists?

    Why might tourism/ecotourism have been essential for the nation's economy?

    How were indigenous populations oppressed?

    What impact did foreign influences, such as conservation groups, have on the creation of parks and how indigenous populations were treated?

    I'm really excited to travel in Uganda and the more I learn about my topic, the more complex and interesting it becomes. I'm excited to hopefully have the opportunity to talk to people from all sides of the topic: the park employees, people who run the park, indigenous groups, and other citizens.

  5. Also, I am starting my own blog to post about my experiences in Uganda including pre-trip, during trip, and post-trip entries. If you're interested, you can find my blog at www.uncoveringuganda.com.

  6. Because the only familiarity I had with Uganda came through my interaction with U.G.A.N.D.A. Youth on campus and Invisible Children through association, the only thing I really knew about Uganda was the LRA conflict. Throughout the past few weeks/months I have learned about the gay rights issues, another current topic that interests me greatly. I have also learned about the political/military history. My original expectations when I first signed up for the trip were that I was going to a country torn apart by the LRA. Although I still believe there is truth in that, I now know there is much more to Uganda such as tourism, natural resources, and many others.

    Some questions about our travel are:

    How open will people be about personal questions? And will they feel comfortable telling me personal stories?

    How do Ugandan's feel about Americans-- travelers, volunteers/social workers, etc?

    I am looking forward to several events. The one I am most excited about is traveling north. I think it will be really fun to see all the wildlife up there, but I am more interested in the lives of Northerns. I am curious to see if people's lives are more affected (by the LRA) farther north.

    A follow up on that last thought is a question for my research: How much are the effects of the LRA felt in Southern Uganda?

  7. Something that I have recently learned about Uganda is about its current struggles concerning gay rights. As I have recently presented and researched about the subject, I learned that U.S. Christian radicals (after visiting the country and speaking out about gays) are much to blame about the current increase in punishment for homosexuality. This is something I feel that many Americans need to take a second look at. Though there has consistently been negative attitude towards same-sex relationships, it was there Americans and other anti-homosexual groups that sparked the introduction of the Anti-Homosexual Bill of 2009.

    It is obvious that bad press has been apparent in the U.S. about this issue but I feel that no one knows the motivation behind the bill. From this I am interested to see and question others about how much this bill has impacted Ugandans and if they have seen a big change in the treatment of homosexuality. I also want to know what many people feel about this bill since I feel that most of the stories I have read about it in the media are very one sided and do not include the opinions of very many citizens.

    I look forward mostly to get to know to Ugandan students and citizens I come in contact with. I feel I have so much to learn from them and experience.

    Concerning my research topic on Pharmaceutical drugs and their availability, control, and pricing, I am eager to talk to professionals, as well as citizens, to learn about pharmaceuticals in the country and what things they like and dislike about the current system. I want to know if patients have access to the drugs they need and if they are fairly priced. I also want to find out about the education set in place for professionals to become pharmacists and how much influence they have among the medical field.

  8. While working on our group paper and presentation, I've learned a ton about Uganda's healthcare. What surprised me the most was their incredibly low ranking in terms of quality of healtcare despite the seeminly extensive policies that have been developing for 15years. Many of the statistics regarding AIDS and malaria, the distribution and number of healthcare workers, and the recent reports of substandard drugs have surprised me as well. I understand that Uganda is a developing nation, but it still seems so strange 51% of the people cannot even access a health facility. In the United States, almost anybody can contact a doctor or medical professional in some way, even if it is simply a consultation with a community pharmacist. All of my research has made me apprehensive of what I may see. Being immersed as a professional pharmacy student, healthcare affects my daily life. I can't imagine interacting with people who do not even have a way of obtaining services or drugs.

    During the trip, I'm most looking forward to...everything. I'm reading the planned activities right now, and I honestly cannot find one thing that I'm not excited about. Every day has an activity that looks amazing--the rural visit, meeting MUBS students, visiting Parliment, seeing Lake Bunyoni and the resort on it, visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park. I'm looking forward to everything. In almost one month I will be in Africa; I can't believe it.

    In terms of questions, I think the only people who can answer my questions are people from Uganda. I want to know how the diseases that seem so foreign here in the United States impact their lives and their family. I want to know how often they face health issues on a daily basis; how often diseases like malaria and AIDS cross their minds. Basically, I want to know how the facts and figures I'm researching are impacting the lives, thoughts, and feelings of Uganda's citizens.

  9. My expectations for this trip have kept changing as I've learned more about how everything we will do and see corresponds to issues I've been studying. Specifically, I'm looking forward to the day we go to both Parliament and to the Bugandan Parliament. It will be interesting to see what differences and similarities there are, given the relationship of the government and the local kingdoms. It will also be revealing to ask and see how ordinary people view the role and image of the government.
    As for my personal research into the music industry, I'm looking forward to going out into Kampala and seeing street life. It will be really interesting to see how music is integrated into society. I've already got a lot of questions as to how Ugandans view music, what differences there are in musical taste by region, what the role of radio stations is in the marketing and spreading of music, and more. Besides the academic aspect of it, I'm definitely looking to soak up a lot of ideas, too. The opportunity to study the music of another country first-hand is unparalleled. This should be a really great experience.

  10. While researching for my group presentation I learned a lot about Uganda's education system. What I found most interesting in my research is that most children attend boarding schools. When I think of boarding schools I think of rich kids in the UK but this is not the case in Uganda. The majority of children go to boarding schools because it is actually cheaper. Having to drive to schools everyday can be expensive on a Ugandan salary.

    I'm most excited to visit the University and the primary school. I think it will be very interesting to learn about their schooling and compare it to our college experience at Drake.

    Currently I have no questions but I probably will in the future. I'm very excited to go on the trip and I can't believe we are leaving in less than a month!

  11. Like Brooke, I researched education in Uganda. I focused my research on sustainability efforts, and found it particularly interesting that one of Uganda's newspaper and publishing companies, the New Vision, is advocating a program called "Newspapers in Education" which urges schools to use newspapers as a teaching tool in the classroom. Newspapers are cheap, and they discuss a wide range of topics stemming from both the community and worldwide. I think this is a great idea, and I wonder how well the program is actually being implemented? I hope to see efforts like this in person when we visit Uganda.

    I am also looking forward to visiting the Ugandan hospitals (as this is pertains to my career-goals), going on a safari, becoming friends with the MUBS students we are traveling with, and visiting the primary school.

    Right now I have a lot of questions about what to pack, especially what type of clothes (the length of shorts?jeans or no jeans? how hot will it be? etc.). I am very excited!

  12. I’m really interested in Uganda’s political system, so I’m looking forward to the Human Rights Talk and the Embassy visit. I think understanding how a country works is the most important step in understanding the quality of life compared to individuals in other countries. How democratic is Uganda? How many freedoms and how much say do the people really have? How free and fair are the elections? Some websites I was looking at for my Comparative Politics class suggested that Uganda had irregularities in its latest elections. Yoweri Museveni was declared president in 1986 through his leadership in the National Resistance Army (NRA). He has since been re-elected in the last three elections. http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/122/ARTICLE/6207/2010-01-13.html This article is talking about corruption and human rights in Ugandan elections. The United States Congress has stated that Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will monitor next year’s Ugandan presidential election to ensure that it is free and fair.

    Political conditions involving the LRA would be interesting to learn more about as well since I still don’t quite understand why there is so much conflict between these groups.

    I’m excited for the rural visit the most. I grew up on a farm and am interested to see how different farming practices are between Uganda and the United States. While I was looking up information for my research paper, I found that production levels for commercial agriculture are running at a fraction of their fullest capacity because farmers are using outdated methods and not implementing new technology into their farming practices. Furthermore, since 90% of export revenue comes from agriculture, it seems only natural that this sector would be operating at optimum production levels. I don’t understand how a country so dependent upon agriculture could allow this to happen. Why don’t government leaders recognize that the country is too dependent upon agricultural exports and look for other ways to increase GDP? Countries like Nigeria (dependency on oil) prove why this is detrimental to the country itself and to the global community.

    I’m also excited to learn more about the AIDS/HIV programs and the nature or outdoor activities.

  13. As my time at Drake is coming to a close I have chosen this Uganda trip to be my last experience as a Drake student. I feel that this experience is a great opportunity to explore a completely different culture first hand. I am actually looking forward to the entire experience and not just a few activities or events that we will be taking a part of. I am very excited about this opportunity. I came into this experience knowing very little about Uganda and now I feel that I have learned an abundant amount of information about Uganda in our preparation meetings we have been having. I learned the most through my partner project that we just completed. Our topic was on international relations and trade. I found out how much Uganda’s international relations helps the sustainable development of Uganda; especially the support that the US gives Uganda. They assist Uganda in areas such as health, education, and agriculture. I have chosen to do my research project on the sustainable development of organizations and their employees by focusing on how they use Human Resources and the areas encompassed in this topic in comparison to the US.

    Questions I have for my research project:

    1.Do all organizations have a human resource department?
    2.If they do have a human resource department what roles are a part of this department?
    3.If they do not have a human resource department what do they use instead?
    4.How do organizations retain, recruit, and develop their employees?
    5.What theories are used in creating human resources?
    6.How does this topic affect the sustainable development of Uganda?

  14. I have been researching both education and the family life in Uganda. Both are very interesting to me. I am very excited to visit the primary school. I have learned that in Uganda, they have an extended family system. Families are very close and there is a strong sense of community in the villages. I understand there is a large difference in the daily lives of Ugandan families in the villages and in the city. I am interested in seeing the extent of these differences.

    While we are in Uganda, I can ask anyone we meet about family life and structure. It will be fairly easy to research while we are over there. I am interested in values that are important to families and how those values affect everyday actions and decisions. I want to learn about the relationships with in the family, what a typical day looks like, and much more. I am very excited to meet the MUBS students and learn more about the Ugandan culture from them.

  15. I will admit that I did not know alot before all the meetings that we have been having in preparation for our trip. I learned the most when researching for the group presentation. Our topic was hygiene water and sanitation. When looking up information about those topics I was shocked to find the facts about it and to see how much I did not really know. I did not know how dirty the water in places like Uganda really is and what the people there go through. I was very excited to find out from Professor Bishop that we will be bringing a water filter with us on the trip and getting to decide where it will be out. I think that will be such an amazing opportunity to bring clean water to the people that we will be meeting and visiting. I think that will be a very eye opening experience and cannot wait.
    The questions that came up when listening to the other presentations were more about the political aspect of Uganda and I am very curious to see how the U.S aids Uganda. With the presentations in class I got to hear everything but now I am looking forward to applying that and actually seeing everything that we talked about.
    I am looking forward to being able to talk to the people there and meet everyone. I want to get a first hand experience and really learn about the people. This I think will help me with my paper and give me good information about the topic I have chosen. I am researching the social aspect of Aids in Uganda and how it compares to Aids in america. I am very excited to learn about the differences from the U.S to Uganda.

  16. Through class meetings and presentations, I have learned a general overview of Uganda. While these have both helped me in gaining a general sense of the history of Uganda, what is going on in Uganda now, issues seen in Uganda, and the possibilities for Uganda, I have also realized that, before this class, I knew very little about Uganda. This excites me even more for the trip because I know that there is so much to learn and see about Uganda. This has not particularly impacted my expectations about the trip. I am still not sure what to expect and I am hoping that by going into the trip without major expectations that I'll be able to learn even more from the trip.

    It is hard to choose what I am most looking forward to about the trip. Activities that I am interested in include the Parliament visit because I've never seen the set up of a government other than the United States'. I am also interested in the HIV/AIDS talk, as well as the other health related activities in seeing how the health system is set up in Uganda. Additionally, I am interested in the rural visit and seeing any differences in agricultural practices.

    Another aspect of the trip that I am excited about includes getting to know the MUBS students. It will be great to be able to get to know these students, as well as learn about their nation and culture through asking them questions and interacting with them.

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  19. After working on my paper and presentation, and reviewing everyone elses, I feel like I have a basic understanding of the background of Uganda. I feel like I have a better understanding of the business world as well. After seeing how much small business is supported by microlending and microfinance, I am excited to actually be a part of Uganda for gathering information for my paper.

  20. The most interesting and perplexing research I have come across in my preparation to travel to Uganda has been the paradox between Ugandan economic growth and industrial development. While researching, I have found that Uganda has had prolonged periods of sustained economic growth. This growth though, has almost entirely taken place post NRM and is just recently passing the GDP levels prior to Amin. However, what I find most interesting is this economic growth has not been paired with needed industrialization, including technological upgrades and manufacturing. This has impacted my expectations of the trip by changing my perception of the Ugandan infrastructure and has caused me to question exactly how the country’s natural resources will help or hinder Ugandan development.
    What I am most looking forward to is meeting the Ugandan students and asking them their opinions about their economic circumstances and their attitudes towards their socio-political climate and its effect on the development of their country.
    Questions to help further my research will be whether or not I believe Uganda is experiencing Dutch Disease and the impact the newly found oil will have upon the industrialization, how the new infrastructure budget will effect industrialization, and what manufacturing, if any, is taking place in Uganda and in what form.

  21. When doing research for the class presentation, I learned a lot about how microfinance impacts Uganda. In researching, I found that Uganda has the most vibrant and successful microfinance industry in Africa. Microfinance has reduced the vulnerability to economic risks for the people involved. I have also found out that through microfinance, people have acquired skill sets that they would not otherwise obtain. Skills that they learn are essential when running a small business. Most clients involved in microfinance are small business owners and people wanting to start a small business. Microfinance is a link to business owners to larger markets and the ability to have access to resources otherwise not obtainable.

    While in Uganda, I am looking forward to meeting with people involved in the microfinance industry and learning more about how small businesses are operated. I am also excited to meet with an entrepreneur and discussing how he runs his business and how the practices differ than here in the United States.

    Questions I will have in Uganda will include more questions about the microfinance industry and how small businesses are operated. And what advantages and difficulties businesses face in Uganda.

  22. My expectations for this have changed over the course of our class room meetings. I am so glad that we met as frequently as we did because it gave me the insight and basic knowledge of in country before we arrive. I am so focused on the health care aspect of Ugandian culture and found all the other project topics quite interesting because I probably would not have had the foundation without the group projects. What I am most excited for are the rural visit with the families, meeting the students of the university and, of course, visiting their health care facilities. I cannot wait! T-minus 3 days!

  23. While conducting research as well as listening to other groups presenting their research projects, my expectations for this trip have changed! I am happy that we met as a group on many occasions because it gave me a preview of what this beautiful country has in store before we depart. I really didn’t know what to expect while in Uganda, but these past few weeks I have gained a larger understanding of the country of Uganda. One fact that stuck out to me was the impact that Agriculture had on Uganda’s economic sector. Agriculture makes up 90% of export revenues. I am really looking forward to visit the rural areas and spending time with the farmers and experience their daily life patterns.

  24. Ever since I knew I would be visiting Uganda on this trip, I have become much more aware of what is going with Uganda in the media. Many of the stories I used to just skim through suddenly hit much closer to home as I prepare to travel to the locations mentioned in the stories. A recent article about the AIDS epidemic that came from a clinic in Kampala really hit me hard and made the problem very real.

    Some questions I am interested in are: How does government spending on internal and external conflict restrict the possibility for economic growth? How does the use of civilians and children in the military affect sustainability? What political motives are behind war crimes and the abuse of women in Uganda?

    I look forward to having these questions answered and discussing them with students from Drake as well as MUBS. Our advisors have prepared a great trip for us, and I can't wait to begin my Ugandan experience.