Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paying fees for sponsored children

Today we got up bright and early (7:30am) and ate some breakfast, whined about not having Internet and then joined the rest of the team on the last section of our tasks here in Uganda. Now we begin paying the fees associated with all the children (287 or so) that the project directly supports. Evidently some of the schools allow the fees to be paid to the banks they use and others make you pay at the school. Our job was to pay all the bank fees.

Today and yesterday we hit about 10 banks and were paying for anywhere from one to 30 students at a time. We each had to fill out the forms for the students we were going to pay for, in quadruplicate, and not make mistakes or maybe have to go to the schools to get the forms again. The next thing is the WAD of cash we had to take with us to each bank. The lowest fee was about 40,000 shillings and the highest at 250000 shillings. Most of them where in the 130000 range. This meant that at any given time we could be walking around with 3 Million or more shillings as we went into the bank. Now the issue is probably not what you think, we were not all that worried about being mugged. We got out very near each bank and moved in at least pairs. No the problem is just logistically getting your head to count and comprehend 3 million in any currency. We had to check and recheck our counts because the biggest bills here are the 50,000's. This means we had a minimum of 20 bills per million dollars in our stacks. Add to this that the poor teller had to individually enter each students name into the computer one at a time and then stamp and initial each of the four copies and then log them into another system and you can begin to imagine this process. Thankfully, PD and the two Ugandans in our team have been doing this awhile and we had the forms filled out in advance, the money withdrawn from our bank before we needed it to pay AND we had a driver that knew his way around the crazy traffic. In any case it was kind of fun and definitely something I have not done before and for the most part the people at the banks were very nice and the lines were short.

In any case, we are back at the guest house, the Internet is back up and we are enjoying some downtime before we pick back up again tomorrow. Unfortunately I cannot upload photos still so I will have to put some up later, if possible.

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