Oli Otya!(Ohlee-ohtee-ya) That means hello in the local language: Luganda. After our morning visit to the Ugandan Parliament, we traveled back to MUBS campus for a lunch of traditional food. Most all of the group was brave and adventurous as we tried the different menu items. These included traditional rice, vegetable greens, and matooke (a side dish made from bananas that are steamed and mashed a thick, creamy texture). Our MUBS friends were excited to share the experience of trying new foods with us.
After lunch, we headed back into the city to the Bugandan Parliament grounds. This parliament represents the Buganda Kingdom and is governed by Bugandan royalty. Additionally, they still fall under the rule of the Ugandan parliament, and this is the cause of debate on many issues. Some questions that were brought up in our discussion and should be considered by my colleagues are: How much power does the Bugandan Parliament have under the power of the Ugandan Parliament? How does having an unelected king represent the Bugandan people affect the government positively and negatively? What measures can be taken to insure that the Bugandan King and Parliament are accurate representatives of their constituents?
As we explored these issues, we got the chance to hear a presentation from the Minister of Education on the general procedures of the parliament. It was informative, but as we asked him questions, there seem to be some tension in the room as we discussed particular issues, especially those involving student protests. An additional question for my fellow students is: how did you react to the tension that came about during discussion today?
The thing that struck me most about the visit was their pride for Buganda and their king. They kneel before the king when they greet him, they sing a sort of Bugandan anthem at the start of meetings, and they accept no national funding for their salaries or programming. It was neat to be able to see their passion for their culture.
We continued our visit by traveling up the street to the Bugandan Royalty grounds. Here we were greeted by an awesome view of the city, a helpful tour guide, and a bunch of sweet young children. This was the highlight of the day for many students. We concluded our day with an evening meal at Fang Fang Restaurant where we enjoyed some Ugandan, Chinese food. Our trip is off to a great start, and we look forward to learning more. Welaba! (Way-la-ba, meaning goodbye)