Friday, August 06, 2010

welcome to africa, my sister!

it took 22 hours to arrive, but merely ten minutes on ugandan soil to engage in my first political discussion. as we trotted along the dark, dusty road from entebbe to kampala, kasim, the cab driver, described the sad state of affairs as he saw them: yes, uganda is a wonderful place...my family, my life is here...but let me tell you, there is no system here that works. you want an education? you have to know somebody. you want a job? you better know somebody. you get sick and need help? well in that case, you better start praying.

kasim lamented the interminable reign of their leader, yoweri museveni, and described "first-hand" accounts (i have seen it, i swear to you!) of government corruption and greed. what started as a promising rebirth from the suffering inflicted under idi amin, museveni's once-heralded economic and social stability have slowly given way to a regression to the lowest political denominator. mutiple violent fronts (in congo and against the lord's resistance army in the north) and the leader's rapacious appetite for control have eroded uganda's hard-fought gains. and with the abolishment of term limits in his own favor, museveni became, in kasim's words, "just another african leader."

but not to worry, kasim assured me: despite all this, we still care for our families, we still love life and we still dance...that is the only way forward. welcome to africa, my sister!

4 comments:

Matt S. said...

Great post, ghaz! Glad to hear you arrived safe and sound. Can't wait to follow your experiences on this blog!

Matt S. said...

Great post, ghaz! Glad to hear you arrived safe and sound. Can't wait to follow your experiences on this blog!

spiritualized said...

quit phd-ing, make cooking a hobby. you are definitely a writer.

Toddie said...

so well written.....MISS YOU!