Wednesday, January 05, 2011
I think big business is the same everywhere. If they can make you wait a little bit or make you do a bit of their work for them they will do it in a heartbeat. Take, for instance, the bank we use here in Uganda. They have money transferred to them for our account. They will sit on this money for a while, drawing interest themselves and then if no one is in the mood to push the enter key and move the money, it stays there in limbo. The populace, thoroughly indoctrinated in the 'stand in line to do anything' policy, just waits and knows that eventually the money will be moved and life goes on. Unfortunately, we do not have that kind of time since this is a 2 week trip, not a two month trip. After driving through the whirling maelstrom that is Kampala traffic you finally arrive at the bank where our leader has to go in and politely remind them that they have our money AND that there is another bank across the circle that we could use just as easily. The person politely deigns to look into the issue and within a few hours we have access to our funds. All we had to do was ride for nearly 1.5 hours round trip risking life and limb just to get access to money we put in their bank to pay for shoes we will buy here in their country to give to kids. We don’t understand why this should be made more difficult but it is not personal, it is just the way things are done here. To be fair I also have to point out that we purchase our shoes from a Bata retailer and were quickly and effectively taken care of. Our 300 shoes were boxed and waiting to be picked up within a few hours of purchase, and the store helped us load the boxes in the van as well, very good service, we were very grateful to them.
The whole day was not spent on business; we did get an opportunity to visit the child that my wife and I sponsor here in Uganda. We have had the opportunity to give support so that his fees, uniforms, books and lunches are taken care of. It was great to get to meet this young man, his name is Isaac (pictured above). He is about 15 years old, nearly as tall as I am, very well spoken. His demeanor was very mature and very happy as well. I had picked up a soccer ball in the states for him and he was very pleased to receive it. We met the rest of his family and spent a while there sharing information and finding out more about each other. Very soon I believe that Uganda will have a new Engineer ready to work and they will be very lucky to have him.