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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Everybody has a Natural Rhythm

We began our first day in Uganda by traveling to Makerere University Business School (MUBS) to meet the students and professors that will be accompanying us for a majority of our trip. Once we arrived at MUBS, we were kindly greeted by the men and women of MUBS and served a small breakfast of cereal, muffins, bananas, sausage, and boiled eggs. Once breakfast was over we took the bus to a shopping center to exchange our US dollars into Ugandan schillings. With our newfound riches in hand we strolled around the market feeling like half a million schillings. After our time at the market, we ventured back to MUBS to grab sack lunches and proceeded to the Ndere Dance Cultural Center. The center was founded to help promote and retain African tribal heritage. Upon arrival, we learned the fundamentals of Ugandan music and dance. Once our broad overview was completed, we divided into different groups to specialize in different areas. I have two left feet, but for some odd reason I chose to learn a traditional dance. After mastering our individual talents, we were brought back together as a group to show what we had learned. There were many outstanding performances by students, especially Sam Brenner’s undungu solo. I on other hand was on the opposite end of the spectrum and managed to give everyone a good laugh at my attempt to dance. The evening culminated with dinner and a performance by the student of the Ndere Center that was amazing to say the least. I know everyone had a great time and cannot wait for tomorrow, but for the time being are exhausted and ready for bed.

Students – How important do you think it is for people to embrace traditions in general? Also, do you think that having knowledge of traditions will contribute to a more or less sustainable Uganda? Finally for personal reference, on a scale of 1 to 10 how humorous was my attempt at dancing?


  1. First of all I have to say Austin, you do not have two left feet and I give you a 7.5 for your dancing! Going back to your first question I think it is very important for people to embrace their traditions. Traditions are a way to connect the present the past and pass along the culture to future generations. When dealing with sustaniable development, I feel that knowledge about traditions will help as people can learn from the past!

  2. You get a 110% for effort, let's not mention the results. the way of life here still follows,many of the ways from past generations, keeping the traditions keeps the understanding behind the way things are done. to use a phrase, history is domed to repeat itself if it is not remembered, this includes traditions and culture, the music and dance are extremely important to remembering as they tell the stories of the past.

    1. Matthew can dance? Can't wait to see a demonstration when he gets home.

  3. Matthew! Great job dancing! You were one of the best among us in fine tuning your dancing skills! Overall, it's extremely important for people to understand their culture and especially their traditions. It provides meaning and a perspective to view the world. In regards to sustainable development I would agree that tradition in some ways inhibits sustainable development. If people are unwilling to adjust and adapt to change within culture, economics, and the environment as a result of culture, there cannot be sustainable change. Overall, in my opinion, sustainability requires the ability to adapt. Culture and keeping traditions can hinder these changes.

  4. Austin your dancing was basically the highlight of the student performances! The fact that you were wearing those African tail feathers was the best part.
    It is so important for people to be aware of their culture and their culture's traditions. Without knowledge and acceptance of one's cultural makeup it is more difficult to define your future self. I think that in Uganda's case, knowledge of their traditions will lead to a more sustainable country. If there is mutual acceptance and understanding of traditions, people are more likely to feel unified and be willing to work together toward sustainability.

  5. I give you an 8. Kelsey, I agree with you that culture and keeping traditions can hinder sustainable development. I think that often times a certain cultural or traditional belief can restrict certain advancements that need to be made. However, I do believe that is important to still keep culture and traditions as something to identify yourself with, whether that is your tribe or whatever it is. I liked what Steven and Ndere said about keeping traditions while still moving forward at the same time.

  6. I think appreciating and understanding other cultures traditions makes for a more sustainable Uganda because it leads to events like the one we attended at the Ndere Cultural Centre where members of different cultures came together to pursue the common goal of sharing music to earn a living. Without having tribes from all sections of Uganda, this even would've been much less successful because members of the audience wouldn't have been able to observe the differences from the different tribes. Even though I believe this to be the case, I think it is also important to embrace your culture, and continue it for future generations. What different cultures have to do is find a common similarity that connects them and celebrate that. This is exactly what was done with music and dancing at the Ndere performance.

  7. Thanks for the post Austin! I think that having knowledge of our history and traditions is extremely crucial for our success in the future. People have often said that you can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been, and I definitely agree. We learn a great deal about ourselves from our traditions, and we can use them to progress ourselves. In terms of development in Uganda, I think the traditions and tribes contribute a great deal to the tourism industry because they are something so different than what most countries have. I think it will be a great asset in the future of the tourism industry.