Ugandanisms: Regarding Events

Telepathy. Telepathy is my reason for existence. When I am not thinking about how to significantly improve the employment situation in Uganda, I am thinking about how to make telepathy a reality. I know, both my passion points are a bit dreamy.

I have helmet, and honestly I am tired of the ‘do you own a bike?’ question, and carrying it around is such a struggle, that I am considering hiring someone to follow me around carrying it. If it weren’t for this damned economy. I have accepted a helmet as a necessary evil, because boda bodas are a necessary evil in my life. If I want to go from point A to point B, I’d like to get there in the shortest time possible, so boda bodas are my best only choice.

Which is probably why I should give up on traveling, at least until I can own/rent a helicopter. I just need to come to terms with Panamera being my version of outdoors. Because Rome was not built in a day, I went to Ssese Islands over the weekend with the #KoiKoiUg team. Normally I would not have been able to afford the trip, however a friend was unable to attend and asked me to go in her place. The trip was a cocktail of emotions from the fear of being so close to water in ferries and boats, to sitting around bonfires two nights in a row, to the control during quad biking, to wishing you were back home while hiking for an entire day, to learning about cultures, ways of life and religions that you didn’t know about. Mostly it was beautiful.

As someone who sets aside their time and money, in this case, my time, to attend an event/trip, I have a certain level of expectations. And that’s where the concept of Ugandanisms comes in. There are different Ugandanisms, for varying situations.

Regarding events, Ugandanism is the belief/attitude that the exchange of money for an experience at an event does not come with an expectation of good quality. That promoting one thing before an event and doing another during the event is okay. That third party suppliers are liable for mistakes even though the contract was between the consumer and the event organizer. That the half cooked food at this event is better than the event where there was no food. That this event beginning an hour late is better than the one last year that began 3 hours late. That we are not worthy of good/better standards.

On Saturday, we set off from Kalangala Island to Bukasa Island, for the hike to the Orthodox Church, the Shrine and the Nanziri falls. We spent about an hour, at the shore at Kalangala Island because the life jackets were not enough for everyone. When more life jackets were brought, I bet many thought that that would be the end of struggle and that it was time for a fun packed day. How wrong we were. The sites were about 45 minutes apart, which we had to walk – which would have been okay had there been refreshments. I don’t know if anyone dreams about walking 14km in scorching sun, and if they do, I don’t want to know what goes on inside their head.

Have you ever walked for so long that you stop talking because you want to save whatever little energy you have left in your body? Have you ever wondered what your ancestors did that you had to make a decision that led you to the middle of nowhere without food in your stomach for over 6 hours? And after, when you think it’s all over, the food served is joke, only at that point nothing is funny. Thank God for the strong Ugandan stomach.

I know, we are only human. That fact is evident in everything. Being a developing country makes us even more human, if that makes sense. So yes, I recognize that there were things that the team could not have foreseen, but there are two things for which my understanding could not be negotiated.

The first was communication – at no point was an official communication made. It was at around 4pm that the hunger set in and murmurs of whether there was a food arrangement began. A few brave people asked, but the answers were not clear. An official communication by the team leaders would have gone a long way, if only in showing that they are only human and some situations can’t be avoided. If you want to be understood on the grounds of being human, then you should return the favor and accord them the respect as human beings. The second thing is also about communication, but I thought that I should separate them. A real time apology. I don’t know about you, but in my books, any apology is not an apology. The tone and timing make up a lot of the apology. I refuse to believe that the team leaders didn’t know what was going on until after 8pm, because that would make me have to address other issues. At whatever time when they realized that they would be no meal before 5pm, an apology should have been given. Apparently an apology was given at the bonfire later that night, but with the kind of day I had had, I didn’t want to test Murphy further, so I went to bed immediately.

I think the real question is, are you making money or building a brand? Money makers won’t behave the same way as brand builders. And that’s what event organizers need to remember. Yes, you might get the money over time, but people will eventually find something better and move on.

For a three day trip, the middle day, which was Saturday in this case, is the main event, because it’s the only full day you get. So for me, most of the trip was spent in pain. If I attend another trip, I hope that it will be better than this one.


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1 Response

  1. Oh dear… this sounds really bad. Inexcusable!

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