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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 5 – markets, and fire trucks, and artifacts OH MY!

The day started on a bright note with everyone being able to sleep in until 9:30, what a treat. The first activity of the day was a personal choice between a fire department, museum and the Uganda Stock Exchange. When we split up I traveled to the local Kampala fire department with Nate.

At the fire department we met with the Inspector General and Assistant Inspector of the department, Mr. Egwedu and Mr. Munguacel. In Uganda their department is part of the police force. They firefighters must first go through 9 months of police training and then an additional 3 months of firefighter training. This is very different from the U. S. where our firefighters are not part of the police. Sense they are apart of the police they have the same power to enforce laws, but mainly they will only testify in court. In addition to having firefighters on the grounds there were also armed police officers and officers in riot gear.

To tell the fire department about a fire citizens must call 999, but many are unaware of this number. When calling this number people first connected to the local police department, and then must be transferred to the fire department. This process can be time consuming, and when they are contacted it can be hard to locate where the fire is because not all the streets have names, and most buildings are not numbered. To try and accommodate for these problems the department has many maps of the city showing unmarked streets, and also the locations of the fire hydrants. They have maps of the fire hydrants because they are underground and in certain areas be hard to find, if t he area even has one.

Once the fire department is informed of the fire they then start their process of getting ready to leave fore the fire. This is very different from the U. S. where most fire departments where they try to arrive at a fire with they try to reach 80% of the fires within 8 minutes. In Uganda they don’t have a standard time that they try and reach the fires. They didn’t mention a reason as to why they do not have their uniforms laid out like they do in the U.S., but to my knowledge it would be because that is not how they were trained. There is a noticeable difference between the training in Uganda and the training in the U.S. because in the U.S. they have training on a regular basis, usually monthly, and in Uganda regular training is rare.

Once the department leaves for a fire they face more problems with traffic and road names. In Uganda they lack many road signs, and traffic lights are usually ignored because during the day traffic officers are used to direct traffic. When going to a fire the officers must look at many maps to locate the fire, and the hydrants underground. The street sizes and composition also pose a problem, because many are very narrow and lined with businesses and people are all over the street. Also most streets are made of dirt and gravel rather than concrete, and are covered in pot-holes that drivers try and dodge because there are no designated lanes.

Being a firefighter in Uganda is a very unsustainable environment, because it changes day to day and they have little regulations. I think it could become a successful part of the economy if it was separate from the police, because too much time is spent on focusing on the police, and little funds go towards the fire department.

During the day students also visited the largest Ugandan museum. The museum was started in 1908 and has had 2 previous locations. There are only 3 total museums in Uganda today. While at the museum students were able to learn about 6 different sections of Ugandan culture: history, culture, nature history, ethnography, science and industry and exhibition.

Students received a personal tour from a knowledgably guide named Adolf and learned about fumigation. Which is a process of burning grass over milk in order to make the milk smell and taste better.

Students that visited the Ugandan Stock Exchange learned about how stock in general works, and how it works in small third world countries. In Uganda they only have 14 stocks, which started in 1998. One special trait about stocks is that the brokers have to wear red in order to make a stock exchange, and the employees must wear green to make the stock exchange.

This shows how Uganda is still very much developing, because of the low number of stocks that are available. In the U. S. there are tens of thousands of stocks that people are able to invest in with help from brokers.

The stock exchange showed how primitive this department of the economy was and how much more development can take place. I think it is possible to make the stock market a sustainable market in Uganda, but they need to be very analytical about where they advance from here and what fields that they invest into from this point.

In the afternoon the class attended a meeting with the Ugandan Investment Authority and learned about how the Ugandans try to attract many people into their market to create industry and jobs. They try and attract them in many fields: manufacturing, agribusiness, transportation, ICT, energy, mining, petroleum, services, and tourism.

They work as the main agency for the country trying to attract investors from Uganda and the world to invest in different markets. They try to attract them by highlighting how many natural resources are here, how much land is available, how malleable the people are to learning new jobs, and how new the market is.

The company’s goal is to increase jobs in the market place fore Uganda and increase the sustainable development. They do a good job in many ways by attracting new businesses to the country, but they are not able to attract everyone to the country. I do feel that they need to me environmentally aware with their projects, and make sure that when they open these new factories and business that they are environmentally friendly. Many of the people would tell us that they are taking environmentally friendly practices, but until they are seen in the country it is hard to trust anything that people tell us when we see so much pollution on an everyday basis.


  1. Hey Ashley - great blog!
    Since I went to the stock exchange, it was fun to read about the differences in the fire departments. I thought it was surprising the fire department claimed that they reach 80% of fires in the first 8 minutes. With Kampala's traffic system, this seems nearly impossible. Since the firefighters are considered to be a part of the police, do you think they are also involved in corruption?
    The stock exchange also provided a great example of how Uganda can develop a sustainable economy. With greater trust in the economy, more people are willing to invest, pumping more capital into the market. This is another situation in which a sophisticated electronic system would provide more ease and a sustainable way to record stock transactions.

  2. It's the U.S.'s fire department that responds to the fires within 8 minutes (sorry if that was confusing). I also think that the fire department could be involved in corruption, but their main purpose as police officers is to testify in court so it would be very easy for them to take bribes and be corrupted in court.

  3. I really enjoyed my visit to the Uganda Stock Exchange, which was surprising for me as a pharmacy major who knows very little about the stock market in the US. It was very easy to understand thanks to the presentation as well as the simplistic market operations done on a wall size dry erase board. The stock market in Uganda is essentially 100 years behind ours, which is obviously more complicated now. It was nice to see the beginning stages of the USE because it was like going back in time and helped me understand our own stock exchange better.

    Since the Uganda Stock Exchange is in such early stages, we were told about their future plans and developments soon to come. They plan to make the stock exchange electronic, like ours, which I believe will help tremendously. There are very few people that are involved with the USE and participate in buying and selling stocks because it requires a stock broker and it is still such a little market of only 14 companies. Right now, middle and lower class people cannot not afford to partake in the small market of stock exchange. I believe this will change once it becomes electronic and stock brokers will then become optional. I think that more businesses will also become public and begin to offer stocks.

    The UIA was very interesting to hear about because I did not know much about that organization either before the presentation. As previously stated, the main goal is to create more jobs for Ugandans and lessen the unemployment rate. One way they want to do this, as well as improve Uganda, is to remake the roads and create a uniform system of public transportation other than taxi vans. They also want to make sure that there are many jobs created for Ugandans through the recent discovery of oil and the soon to be booming oil business.

  4. I went to the museum and learned a ton about Ugandan history. We had a tour guide who was able to explain a lot more about the history and culture than we would have learned by simply reading the display descriptions. For example, we found out that in ancient times the bark of a fig tree was beaten, stretched, and dried to form a cloth. This cloth was then used in huts and clothing and, in fact, is still used today because of its natural mosquito repellent properties. The mosquitoes cannot stand the smell of this cloth, and also cannot bite through it because of how thick it is.

    I was very happy to have the opportunity to visit this museum and learn more about the culture and history of Uganda than I likely would have otherwise. It was interesting to compare it to the museums that I have visited throughout the United States and I had a lot of fun there.

  5. I also went to the Uganda Museum and was very impressed. Although the museum was older and a bit outdated, the historical and cultural information was still present. Our tour guide, Adolf, was very informative and asked us where we wanted to go in the museum and what we wanted to hear. We were able to sit and listen to a women play some typical Ugandan instruments which included drums, xylophone and a one stringed violin. This was a great opportunity to learn more about Uganda's history.

    Besides that history of the Bark Cloth, like Rachel explained above, we learned about how women used to apply perfume. The women would stand over pots with burning herbs and plants, and the smoke and smell of these herbs would soak into their clothing, acting as a form of perfume.

    Outside in the back of the museum, they had an area called the Cultural Village. It contained 16 typical Ugandan huts that represented different tribal homes of the country. We were able to walk around and go inside some of the huts and Adolf explained the cultural meanings of the them and items inside of them. He explained that if there was a stick pointing out on the peak of the roof, that it meant a man was present in the hut. If the hut was lacking this stick on the roof, it meant that a man could enter the hut and claim a woman occupying it as his wife. The sticks served as a form of communication.

    Overall, the Uganda Museum was a great experience and I am glad that I was able to go and learn more about the history of Uganda. It was interesting to hear about the culture and how many of the practices are still used today!

  6. Going to the stock exchange was one of the most interesting parts of the trip for me. I know nothing about the U.S. stock exchange, so I was worried I'd be confused. I was amazed by how simplistic it was! It really helped me to understand the process when everything was written out on a whiteboard.

    I think they definitely need to utilize the stock exchange to make their economy more sustainable. Using stocks allows consumers to have leverage in what occurs within the company. Our stock market is a booming system and the Ugandan system is on the right track, it is just a hundred years or so behind ours. Once they can incorporate more companies into the system and hopefully use some technology, their system will be much more efficient.