Thursday, June 14, 2012

The King of Tooro

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Hey everybody, I'm sorry this has taken me so long to post but I couldn't access my blog account until I completely reset my Gmail account. Apparently Gmail thinks my account was hacked because it was accessed from Uganda and the Netherlands within a short amount of time and it took me a while to figure out. Anyways, I've been waiting to post this for a while now:

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On Wednesday we had the honor of meeting with the king of Tooro - King Oyo - at his "Kampala Palace." It was a beautifully built, walled-off mansion in the middle of an extremely wealthy neighborhood that overlooked Lake Victoria. While this is not his main palace, King Oyo still visits it often when he is vacationing and when he has business in Kampala.

The thing about King Oyo is that he is no ordinary king. He was the youngest king in the world at the time of his coronation - at the early age of 3 & 1/2! What's equally interesting is the story of how he came to be king. King Oyo was crowned after his father was murdered by the Ugandan Prime Minister in 1995. The Prime Minister had been having an affair with the Tooro queen and wanted her for himself, so one day he decided to poison the king. Now, the ex-Prime Minister is locked up in Luzira maximum security prison. (We learned about all of this from the MUBS students and from Professor Fred Luganda after our visit).

Now King Oyo is 20 and he plays an enormously important role in the kingdom of Tooro. He considers himself a "leader and a businessman". But, he also functions just like any other normal 20 year old. He goes to university in England, he has an Xbox 360 and enjoys gaming (in fact he was playing Xbox right before we dropped in for our unexpected visit), he loves hanging out with his friends and relaxing, and he wears Polo tshirts and jeans.

How would you feel if you had that kind of responsibility at this age?
How would you live your life differently if you knew you had to e the role model for thousands?
What do you think of the way King Oyo lives?


Fun Facts:

The kingdom no longer collects taxes (because of Museveni) but the government now gives the kingdom local grants.

The Tooro Kingdom is very generous in giving back to the local community.

The equator goes through the Tooro Kingdom.

The kingdom also has Renzwari Mountain which is the tallest mountain in Uganda.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Microfinace
The microfinance session was put on by Reach Out organization. Reach Out is primarily a HIV/AIDs treatment and testing center, and the organization essentially stumbled into creating a system of microloans and savings for the local community, both patients and non-patients. What they have in place is a VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association) model where a few community members are educated on how to run the group and then become fully autonomous and run the groups on their own. These groups, made mostly of women, save money and contribute to the fund on their own and take small loans when needed. At the end of the year the money is redistributed with those who saved more getting a higher percentage of the money. Theoretically the amount of money in the fund will be much higher because of the interest paid back from the loans. I was very impressed at the system, but also felt that there were a lot of limitations.
What does everyone else think? Is the VSLA model sustainable? Do enough people have access to this service? Where are all the dudes?

PS. Sorry it took so long to post this everyone our cabin never got the stick in country and then I got locked out of my drake email, but its all good now!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Uganda Parliament presentations were very educational. We learned about a lot of different Parliament information such as the history, seating situations, types of special groups involved, the process of a member or government bill, and more. There seemed to be quite a bit of mixed feelings about Uganda Parliament. The first speaker praised the "fair" Parliament system but the MUBS students did not seem to agree. They brought up questions about funding and corruption that led the speaker to refuse to answer anymore questions about that topic. I definitely felt some tension in the room. The next speaker seemed more reasonable and knowledgeable. He centered the discussion more on economics. I thought he was not as scripted with his answers but he was still in favor of the Uganda Parliament system. This is not surprising because these presenters work in or with Parliament and of course they want to give a good impression of it.
One of the discussed topics I found most interesting was the special group representatives. The different types of groups include women, disabled, youth, army, and labor unions. I think it is a great thing to have these types of people represented in government. The only issue is the size of these groups. With 385 or so Parliament members, I believe they could have more than 5 of them represent the youth or disabled.

What impressions did you get from the speakers and MUBS students? Do you think there is corruption in Parliament? What topics discussed did you find most interesting? Do you think the Uganda Parliament will be sustainable?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Colin's Dinner & Culture

Today, we all traveled up the hills to Colin Sentongo's beautiful home. Here we all enjoyed meeting members of the MUBS board, the ambassador of Japan, and many other special guests. We all mingled before dinner and got to know a little about what some of their duties consisted of. Many of us were given the chance to enter their culture in different ways, such as talking with the ambassador, the way we were seated (women on mats and men in chairs), the order in which we received our food (men going first), and the different dances we were shown. After dinner, we had a short discussion on the differences between the Ugandan culture and the US culture. We got to hear all about Colin's cultural background and some of the invited guests as well. It was very interesting to me to hear about their "clans", or what animal everyone was. We also presented Colin with a new Drake Blvd. sign to put at the end of his lane, where earlier students got to plant their own trees as a sign of sustainable development. He was extremely thrilled and could not wait to put up his new signs. We all then enjoyed the rest of our night with lots of dancing and laughing.


What do you think the major cultural differences are between Uganda and the US? Are there any similarities? What were a few sustainable developments at Colin's house? And what was one new cultural idea that you learned at Colin's house from him, the guests, or the MUBS students? 

Luzira Maximum Security Prison: Here's to second chances

Today, we had the privalege of visiting Uganda's maximum security prison and for many of us this was our first time experiencing what jail life looks like. As we walked into the courtyard filled with hundreds of male inmates, all eyes and attention were directed on us. Many of us were surprised that the only barrier between us and the inmates were just a few guards here and there. This prison has the capacity to hold 20,000 inmates and includes as many as 500 men who are currently on death row. The inmates on death row were all dressed in a white uniform, while the others were dressed in head-to-toe yellow. Even though the inmates in yellow aren't on death row, some maybe facing up to 310 years in jail!

 Luzira Maximum Security prison has recently been the subject of a welfare project by the African prisons project. About 3 or so years ago, the prison joined hands with Makerere University Business School and now provides education to approximately 50 inmates. As well as providing university level education, the prison also offers primary, secondary and vocational schooling,in which 1/3 of the inmates are engaged in some sort of education. While 60% of the teachers are hired women, some inmates teach along side them because they may have bachelors degrees already. The biggest surprise of the day was when we learned that those on death row tend to be their best students. Many who are on death row and are performing well in school can get change their sentence from death row to a certain number of years. What are your thoughts on changing sentence time, especially changing a death row sentence? Before these programs existed, riots occurred about once every three months and now they also never have any. The aim of these programs is to give inmates a second chance at life once out of prison and their moto is that age is not a problem, as long as you want to get something out of it. What are your thoughts on prisoners receiving basic education as well as degrees while in jail? Is educating prisoners sustainable?

 Also, since the judicial system in Uganda doesn't provide access to a fast and speedy trial, many prisoners maybe awaiting their trial in jail for 3 to 5 years and are found to be innocent.What are your thoughts on this process? Is it economically sustainable to look after these people for 3 to 5 years only to find them innocent?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

MURCHINSON FALLS!


For the past two nights we have been off the grid at Murchinson Falls National Park. We experienced a completely new level of darkness, an entirely new environment and a lot of different animals. The campgrounds itself were a very interesting sight. Upon our arrival, there were wart hogs to greet us. That is when it dawned on most of us that we were in the middle of nowhere. Once everybody settled in, we sat around the lawn looking up at the stars and were awestruck by how vivid they were. The next day, we woke up bright and early for the sunrise and to cross the Nile to experience an African safari! The safari was phenomenal! We sat on top of our safari vans and snapped thousands of pictures of the wildlife that we encountered. After a tiring 4 hours of the safari, we experienced a 3 hour boat ride down the River Nile to view Murchinson Falls. The day was near perfect with the views and the magnificent Ugandan weather.

During our time on the safari, we learned that oil was found in the park. What do you believe will happen to the park in the next 5 years? 10 years? Will it make Uganda more sustainable or less sustainable? What was your favorite part of the safari/boat ride? What would have made your experience even better? 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sure Prospects =)


Today we spent an exciting play filled day at Sure Prospects Institute. Sure Prospects is a school for both children with special needs and those with out special needs. After an hour on the bus we were split up into four teams to cheer on the students during the game day. We walked out on to the field and were greeted by cheers and smiles. The children, ranging from preschool to their last year of primary school, were watching and taking part in the games (relay race activities). It was interesting to see that many of the children were given spoonfuls of sugar during the games. Once we finished the games and giving the children many hugs and pictures we headed back to the school. Many of us sang songs (head shoulders knees and toes, and the hokey pokey) with the kids and danced.
Our group was lucky to meet the head master Francis and find out more about the school. The school has 320 students and 32 teachers. The average class size was 25 students with the exception of P1which had 50 students! I don’t know about you guys but I cant imagine being in a first grade class of 50 students. Another fact that Francis shared with us was the ratio of students with out disabilities to those with disabilities was 3 to 1. The students have a range of different disabilities from autism to learning disabilities to physical handicaps. However, teaching a variety of children is not seen as a challenge at this school but an opportunity to help teachers and students alike grow. Francis spoke of many of the children acting as supports for their fellow classmates. The school unites every student. This “buddy system” benefits all of the children.  Have you seen anything like this in American schools? The school also provides additional support for all students. The motto of the school is to teach to the individual not the classes. Thus there are one on one aids available, specialized classes, and other accommodations available. Francis talked about having teachers sit in on other teacher’s classes to help evaluate and supervise each other.
Lastly, Francis talked about the challenges the school and teachers face. The school depends on donations and selling crops as sources of funding. Also receiving accommodations for students with special needs to take their exams to leave primary schools has been a struggle. Francis hopes to work with the Uganda National Institution Board to create a certificate of merit for students who can’t test in “traditional ways”. Discrimination towards children and workers who have disabilities has been a struggle for the students and the school.
Overall today was an eye opening day. I know many of us wanted to take the students home! Given the challenges and successes of Sure Prospects do you think this school can contribute to sustainable development? Was there any moments or aspects that surprised you at the school? How does this school program compare to your schooling and experiences with special education programs at your elementary school? Lastly, what is your thoughts regarding discrimination against those with special needs in Uganda versus the United States?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"The Law is Male" ~ David Batema

Today's presentation was absolutely inspirational and really enlightening.  We were greeted by His Worship, Judge David Batema, who spoke to us about gender issues that exist in Uganda.  His Worship graduated from Makerere University Law School where he learned and determined that Uganda's laws are "male".  The laws are made to cater toward men, their ideals, wants, and perspectives.  Mr. Batema knew gender equality was a problem and that is when he began to preach about equality and became a magistrate.

This presentation was so uplifting, and the way he connected gender equality to the Bible, the government, and different cultures. Therefore, I believe that everyone was able to take something away from what His Worship preached about. It was personally hard to hear those stories that he told us about the differences between the way men and women are convicted in violent domestic and sexual acts.  I am interested to hear how all of you feel about marriage.  Do you believe when two people get married that one person has a property right over the other?

I found it kind of sad that it was not until 1995 that Uganda established, what I feel is a flawed law, saying that men and women are to be treated as equal. I liked the way His Worship said that, "the struggle for women's rights is not between women and men, but a struggle for justice and human rights." It is going to take a lot of time, patience, and as Mr. Batema said an attitude change, to see a change in how people perceive gender equality in Uganda.  I really could go on for days about how much I appreciated and all that I learned from "Sister Batema's" presentation.  It was so inspirational that I would love hear more from His Worship and the progress Uganda makes toward gender equality.

How did you feel about His Worship's presentation?  How did you feel about the reactions of the MUBS students to the presentation?  Do you feel that gender equality has an impact on sustainable development?

Mabira Forest Walk and the Source of the Nile

These past two days, we spent our time in the town of Jinja.  We stayed at Kingfisher Resort which is located on Lake Victoria.  It was a very relaxing and enjoyable environment.  We started off yesterday by heading to the source of the Nile River.  We first crossed the Nile by a dam that acts as a power source to the majority of Uganda.  We were not allowed to take pictures over the bridge due to security reasons.  We then headed down to the water by the source of the Nile.  The river looked a great amount like the Mississippi River which I would not have expected to see in Africa.  The water was moving with a very fast current where Lake Victoria met the Nile.  We were able to go right down to the river where we could have touched the water if we wanted.  Today, we were going to take a walk through the forest, but plans changed and we drove through instead.  The dense forest looked a great amount like a forest you would see in the United States.  Overall, I enjoyed both of these places and learned a great amount at the source of the Nile.  What is your opinion on using hydroelectric power from the Nile instead of other sources of energy? Also, do you think an increase in tourism at the Nile would change the sustainable development of the economy?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Old Mcdonald had a farm...and a clinic!

The past two days have given me quite the insight on what it would be like to live in a rural village. Visiting the farms in the rural village was a muddy but delicious experience. While touring the farms we not only learned about the different crops, we got to taste them as well! All of the work is done by hand which means farmers cannot get as much work done in a day as the farmers in the United States. After a wonderful lunch which was provided by the elders, we had a discussion with them. The elders explained that Uganda farming as a whole is not doing anything for sustainable development. They destroyed one of their biggest forests so they were able to make sugar. Farming is important to a nation, because it is how the nation feeds it's people. What ways can Uganda farming contribute to sustainable development while still feeding the people of Uganda?

The second day of the rural visit was spent presenting multiple floor plans to the elders for the health clinic we are helping to build. We split into groups where we each had a floor plan that we would explain and then were given feedback on what could still be added to the clinic. After presenting some students played soccer or sang songs with the children. Others had a meeting with the elders to discuss the different suggestions that were given. This allowed us to look at the floor plans and compare the suggestions with the plan the elders liked best. With the amount of money we have for this project, what suggestions should we consider adding first? What suggestions will best contribute to sustainable development?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Graduation

One of the graduate's son!
We made it just in time to Makerere University Business School for their graduation today. After going through security, we were ushered to our seats. There were two sides: one side had the graduates, the police band, and the dancers while the other was for parents and the faculty. There was a section in the middle with a red carpet for the Chancellor's procession. As we went across that section, the announcer called all the attention to the students from the United States. The principal, Mr. Waswa Balunywa, addressed the congregation which was followed by a dance. Then they announced the best male and female performing student. They each got a reward of 500,000 shillings (about $200). The Vice Chancellor addressed the congregation followed by the Chancellor, Mr. George Kagonyera. The Chancellor's speech seemed more political than about the graduates. He did tell them what not to do with their degrees. At one point, I remember him saying, "Don't use drugs" about three times in a row and he said to "avoid behavior that will conduct HIV and AIDS. It was interesting because he was so straightforward and direct about it. Afterwards, the graduates were then awarded their diplomas. Instead of saying each name separately, the Deans would ask each graduate receiving a certain diploma to stand up and present them to the Chancellor who would then congratulate them. Once the degrees were all awarded, the Chancellor closed out the ceremony. It was then followed by my favorite part which was the music and dancing! What similarities or differences did you see between graduation in the United States and Uganda? What did you find most interesting?

The Media

Today after an exciting morning at the MUBS graduation we got the chance to meet with a panel of journalists from different newspapers and media outlets in Uganda. We learned many interesting facts about the media industry, and how it connects to sustainable development in the country. Media can be a respected tool in Uganda and often influences government policy. The journalists emphasized that media still has a long way to go, despite its developing efforts. Some problems with the industry today are the fact that media ownership is still in the hands of big businesses and the government, and they dictate policy. Also, this ownership can influence much what is written in many of the local newspapers. It was expressed that one of the major problems is the caliber of journalists in Uganda today. Many of them are not professionally trained and will sit down and write a story from almost nothing. What are your thoughts about the presentation today? What do you think are some similarities and differences between journalism in American and in Uganda? What do you think Uganda could do to improve its media industry and positively influence the economic development in country?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Inspector General of Government's OffIce

          After visiting the Vocation school today, we went to the Inspector General of Government. Unfortunately, because the Inspector General was out of the country, we talked to the Director of Legal Affairs.  In the beginning of his lecture, he talked about what the IGG does, what it helps prevent, and the definition of corruption.  The definition according to him was, "Abuse of public office for personal gain, embezzlement, theft of funds, fraud, etc."  Personally, I felt like he addressed the amount of corruption within the country excessively.  However, he also addressed the different acts that have been enacted within the past ten years.  Each of these acts either allowed the prosecution and arrest of those who committed crimes of corruption by the IGG, and allowed the country to see the information provided by the government.  He also described the mass quantities of money that have been embezzled.  According to the world bank in 2008, 70% of government contracts we're not rewarded.  He also read from the constitution from 1995 the whole time.  This personally made me feel like he really didn't understand what was going on and made the presentation very slow and uncreative.  Not that this type of presentation needs to be "creative," but I felt like he didn't really know what to talk about and spun in circles a lot. Did anyone else feel like he was contradictory and any point in his speech? What did he say?
          All facts aside, I personally found that the IGG of Uganda does not make the country sustainable.  A successful system of checks and balances allows for laws to be passed in a positive way.  The current system gives all power to the president without checks and balances. That being said, the question that was asked about the outside resources for help really bothered me.  He continued to argue that the reason that they can't stop all of the corruption because there isn't enough funding from the government.  However, with how corrupt the government is, why would they fund a program or person to try and stop them?  If they need funding, I personally feel like the funding needs to be from an outside source. What do you guys feel about this?


Other Questions: 
- Do you think the IGG relates to sustainable development?
- How else should they try to stop corruption in the country?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Foundation for Human Rights Initiative

Today we visited the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)  which is an independent NGO founded in 1991 to protect and promote human rights. It is an advocacy organization that helps to link the government with the citizens of Uganda by ensuring that the concerns of the people are heard and that the government upholds what is stated in the Constitution. The director Livingstone Sewanyana talked to us about the challenges facing human rights in regards to areas such as elections, the judicial system, poverty, laws, the health and education system, unemployment, and the media. He went on to discuss what FHRI is doing to fight for human rights such as influencing legislation, issuing reports on the current state of the country, training Parliament members, and providing free legal services. What basic rights do you think all people deserve? How are these basic rights important to sustainable development? What shocked you most about the what the Director said? What do you think can be done to improve the state of human rights in the country?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mulago Hospital


            After an exciting visit to TASO (The AIDS Support Organization), we split up into two different groups. Eight Drake students that were not focused on business/entrepreneurship got to visit and tour Mulago Hospital, the main and biggest public hospital in Kampala, where they treat the sickest of the sick. It was the most eye-opening day I have ever experienced. Today was the largest realization of culture shock,with the difference between an advanced country and a developing country, I have had on this entire trip. Words cannot even describe all the thoughts that were going through my head when walking through the hospital. We got to go ‘behind the scenes’ and see the different facilities and levels of the hospital. The way their system works is that the less you are able to pay or the fewer doctors you personally know, the worse service you get. The main things I noticed were the amount of families there to comfort and support their sick loved ones, sanitary problems in the wards, the lack of space (at least 20 very sick or hurt patients to a room, on top of lots of family members sitting with them), and that it seemed like most of the doctors, nurses, and staff seemed to not give the patients much attention or help. I thought it was amazing that Mulago just got a new heart institute, the best CAT scans in the country, as well as plans to get an MRI very soon. 
            Overall this was a great and meaningful experience to be apart of. What were you shocked about the most? What are the main comparisons and contradictions you can make between our hospitals and theirs? How does the quality of healthcare at Mulago effect sustainable development? What would you say needs the most improvement in order to be a more efficient hospital and how would you suggest they implement this improvement? 

The AIDS Support Organization (TASO)

Today, the students got the amazing opportunity to visit the largest AIDS focused organization in Uganda. From the very start, our two guides, Madam Patience and Miss Claire, greeted us for the day. In addition, all of the TASO patients waiting outside of the clinic gave us a round of applause and a welcoming that was a great representation of the Ugandan hospitality we have experienced here. Even with a very busy day, we were able to tour around the facility and talk with counselors, doctors, information managers, and others involved with the organization. This provided a great opportunity to many of those studying topics related to healthcare/AIDS while in Uganda and allowed time for questions involving their operations at TASO. We were also lucky enough to be able to listen to one of the performance troupes that TASO uses to educate the population. These performers are currently “living positively with AIDS” and after performing shared their personal stories about life with AIDS. With all of our experiences in mind at TASO today, will TASO be able to support the growing number of patients (about 30 new per day, three times per week) given the current facilities and services offered? While they have certainly had an impact on HIV/AIDS stigma and treatment, what kind of programs could TASO offer in the future to ensure the success of the program? A final note for this post: remember to be correct and consistent in your use!

Monday, May 21, 2012

City Secondary School!

We knew we were in for quite a treat today when the students from City Secondary School greeted us when we stepped off the bus with a marching band. After the warm greeting we got to learn about the history and make-up of their school, the education system in Uganda, as well as a few of the 55 cultures that are represented at their school through dance and comedy. We were then showed their art room and given the opportunity to create some of our own art. Many of us had tie-dyed before, but I think the method we used was new and quite different than what we were used to. Following tie-dying we got a brief preview of the school campus before breaking off into groups for lunch and discussions. For lunch we had the opportunity to begin interacting with the students and having various conversations about culture, how school is different in the two countries, and what we like to do in our spare time. Once we finished eating, we continued getting to know the students. Some groups played American games, taught American dance moves, and some listened to American music. The education majors and professors also had a chance to talk with their teachers about differences in schooling and what it takes to obtain a degree. To wrap our visit up we interacted some more with their students by playing volleyball and futbol (soccer). Our visit ended with saying goodbye to the students we met. How does education play a role in sustainable development? What specifically does City Secondary School do to promote this? Was there anything that surprised you from the visit today? What comparisons or contradictions can you make between their schooling and our schooling?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Amazing Talent!

If you could have seen us today you would have been very impressed! After our journey to the equator we headed to the Ndere Dance Cultural Center (www.ndere.com).We were treated to two hours of training as a dance troupe. After learning the fundamentals of Ugandan music and dance steps from the troupe members we divided into groups to develop our amazing talent. My instrument was the bass udungu. Others learned drums or  musical instruments as the dancers learned their steps. At the end of the session we regrouped to put it all together. The dancers were amazing but Kristiana and Michael stole the show with their performance on the Uganda keyboard. Braeden impressed the troupe musicians so that he may have a second career option. Parents, be sure to ask your student what role they played in the Drake dance troupe. Arthur, thanks for arranging this amazing experience. The evening culminated with a buffet and the incredible display of talent from the Ndere Dance Troupe. We are exhausted and head to the secondary school for the day tomorrow. Students, what surprised you most about the experience today? What did you learn about the role this troupe plays in sustainable development?

Equator

Today we went to visit the equator. It was cool because there was an actual line across the ground to show where it was, and on either side of the line was a type of bowl with a hole in the bottom, to demonstrate the way water drains in different directions in the different hemispheres. There was also a bowl right on the line, and apparently in that one the water drains straight down.
We spent a lot of time perusing and purchasing at the shops along the road, and all of us left with fun souvenirs. In Uganda, most purchases involve a process of bartering, so the stated price my not be the price you wind up paying. Many of the shops sold the same or similar items, but each of them was asking a different price. What do you think are the positive and negative effects of multiple vendors selling the same items for different prices? Do you think that a strong, sustainable business model can be made utilizing the barter system, and do you think it hurts a business if they refuse to barter in a culture where it is expected?

Ugandan Martyrs


Religion is an important aspect of the Ugandan lifestyle and on Saturday, we had the opportunity to visit two different Martyrs Shrines. In the late 1800's, many missionaries traveled into Uganda with the hopes of converting Ugandan citizens to the Christian faith. This act was considered a great offense to the kingdom and those who chose to participate suffered grave consequences. In the year 1886, 22 Ugandan Martyrs (those who became Chrisitans) were killed by the order of King Mwanga because they refused to condemn their Christian faith. Now, the site of the holocaust is a place of pilgrimage and remembrance. Can you think of any stories in other cultures that are similar to the Ugandan Martyrs? How does religion play a role in sustainable development?

Patrick Bitature

Patrick Bitature met with the group at the Protea Hotel, which he owns.  He spoke to the group about what he is doing to help sustainable development as an entrepreneur in Uganda.  He is the founder of many businesses, one of them is Simba Telecom.  Simba Telecom is one of the largest providers of cellular service in Africa.  He spent a lot of time talking about sustainable projects that have a social impact.  An example of this is a farm that he is planning to build in Northern Uganda.  This farm would help the economy and bring a living to people in this region that have struggled with conflict recently.  He is also finding ways to bring more energy to Uganda.  Mr. Bitature believes that habits of success make people successful.  He also said that good attitude and hard work make successful entrepreneurs.  What did Patrick Bitature say that will stay with you as you continue this journey in Uganda?  What endeavors do you think Mr. Bitature should involve himself in to create sustainable development in Uganda?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thank you Dean Sserwanga!

Today was a very full day.  After leaving for breakfast at 7:45 we were honored to meet with Patrick Bitature, widely considered to be the most successful entrepreneur in Uganda.  In the afternoon we visited two shrines in Namugongo honoring the Ugandan Martyrs who were executed because of their religious beliefs.  Posts for both of those events will be coming tomorrow.  Following the shrines, the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Arthur Sserwanga, hosted us at his family's farm.  The farm is on the edge of Kampala and is starting to be overtaken by urban sprawl.  Dean Sserwanga explained the role of the family homestead in Ugandan society and gave us a tour of his family's dairy operation.  His explanations provided a number of excellent cultural lessons for all of us.  Starting from his father's home, we walked through the acreage to the other side of the farm to his home which he recently finished building. Once there we were greeted by his family and had for a wonderful dinner prepared by his wife and her sisters.   Following dinner a few students started playing a game based upon everyone's name.  If you made a mistake the group got to choose a task for you to perform - such as dancing or singing a song.  Before long almost all 31 Drake and MUBS students we playing as well as the Dean, his children, and the Drake professors.  The game then changed to an updated version of musical chairs, described by the students as "train wreck".  Before we knew it, it was about 10:30 pm and we decided to call it a night and return home (tomorrow starts even earlier)  Thank you Dean Ssserwanga for a wonderful and fun evening!  Students -- please comment on what you learned from his talk and also your favorite moments from the games of the evening. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Today after meeting and eating with the MUBS students, we headed to Owino Market.  The best way to describe the market is crowded!  We had to be careful of people pick-pocketing us.  Everyone was staring at us and wanted to talk to us to try and get us to buy their products.  I expected the market to be crowded, but not as bad as it was.  It was stressful trying to push through all of the people and very overwhelming!  The exposed food had an indescribable smell!  Overall, the market was very unsanitary (open meat sitting next to random organs, tomatoes, other food, shoes, etc)!  I cannot come up with any American market as an comparison to Owino Market, students, can you?  How did your expectations differ from what the market actually was? 
-Micah Garton

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

One Week Away

Everyone is finishing final exams and busy packing for our departure to Uganda in one week.  The professors are looking forward to seeing all of our friends at MUBS and in Uganda.  It very much feels like a home away from homeand we are excited to catch up with everyone.  Students -- What are you most looking forward to?  What concerns (if any) do you have?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Exciting News for 2012

As plans for the sixth annual Uganda seminar evolve it is a good time to reflect on the past year.  When we left Uganda last summer there were many plans in place to move our partnership forward.  While we failed to accomplish some of these plans others succeeded.  A few highlights of the past year:  In December Dr. Bishop returned to Kampala and participated in an Entrepreneurship Conference hosted by MUBS.  In January Drake was pleased to welcome 10 students from MUBS to campus for a study seminar in the US.  We were thrilled to show our Ugandan colleagues the Drake campus and Des Moines.  They enjoyed the snow and brisk cold air and we hope that we can host a similar experience every year.  It is exciting to see the partnership continue to develop into such a long-term multifaceted relationship!

The plans for the Uganda portion of the exchange continue to evolve with some exciting new events and learning opportunities during the summer of 2012.  This year students are working on multiple service learning projects with our partners in Uganda.  It is exciting to see the addition of these projects that embody the concept of sustainable development.  We are thrilled to also be partnering with the Shinning City Foundation to help finance some of our new initiatives.