I've spent 17 days in Uganda. I have mingled with the rich and the poor and done my best to see the world through their eyes, though what they see is painful to me in very different ways.
I am left with a confused mix of hope and helplessness. The existing power structure is completely caught in its own need turning to greed. Everyone simply accepts "the way things are" and plays the game skillfully to leave the table with their pockets full. The ones who tries to do right, looses out. It's a dangerous game of everything or nothing.
The powerful people we have talked to here, all seem very inspired with the prospect of collecting more taxes. When we talk about education and free internet they loose focus and quickly the topic close in on the "what is in it for me"-rhetoric. It appears no one will do anything here, unless they themselves benefit financially from the deal. Regardless of them being business men or appointed officials.
It is not very surprising but still more extreme than expected. My initial thoughts on who to lube the chain wasn't nearly enough. Towards the end of our stay we were debating how to balance more direct means of bribery, without compromising the overall intention of granting free internet and education. It is tough being an idealist in Uganda.
If Uganda established a government controlled internet provider, surely such an organization would have highly acclaimed positions ready for the willing aids of such a program. Establishing it as a private company might allow for purposeful distribution of ownership through stocks. And establishing free internet would surely accelerate the infantile IT industry of Uganda, allowing the entrepreneurial to acquire valuable stakes in this new and profitable industry of digital services and media. The market already has 17 million under-nurtured customers.
I consider this initial research trip to be successful and I have a feeling I'll be coming back. Even if it is just to sit at the lake and write or having another Rolex at the intersection.