My 52 year old #Uganda

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Today, I walked from my house, and I searched for my 52nd yo Uganda. I found an amazing result.

Any father of 3 gals has to ask if his community is the best place to raise them – saw i called up the gentleman selling a sexy plot of land, just slightly less than an acre – 400 Million shillings, he said. I cannot afford it – but I would like to get it. I should. Besides it, there exists an islamic community school, young boys will learn their faith here. Across the road, boda bodas.

I walked through a maze of houses that left me wondering if their daughters stood a chance at sexual violence. down the bumpy windy road, little children play with used tyres and teenagers fetch water from a clean water well. There is no way a service provider could possibly work out supplying these unfinished houses with decent utilities. Still, they can afford satellite TV – Gulf TV. Ugandans are happy.

There is a mukiga in Kyebando – he’s turned the swamp into a maze of vegetables, intricately trapping rain water that comes from the up the slope, tapping into the small channel. When Kampala is hot and dry, this man will have fresh vegetables. Uganda is after all, gifted by nature!

There were 2 churches separated by a small single lane road; one in a permanent structure with stained glass; the other a typical sight in Kampala neighborhoods – loud cranky sounds coming from a box of iron sheets. Uganda, I must say, is pretty church-ed.

There is a maize miller factory in this very neighborhood, the young men can be mistaken for grayed senior citizens save for their built biceps that load sacks of posho onto a waiting fuso truck. Its not uncommon to find these millers dotted across the communities – they represent the local bourgeois while underwhelming the investor label. Uganda has potential.

How could we possibly serve a community where 2 churches, a maize mill and a motel exist besides a soccer pitch and a boarding school? Lets start by knowing who is there. This year, following the National Census, and after 52 years of independence, Ugandans like me will get a National ID. Uganda can be slow and clueless.

I jumped 2 water channels to get across to the pitch where Chelsea striker Diego Costa is idolized on the back of a young lad. There are no nets on the make shift goal posts, and there is no ref, but this is not enough to stop a crowd of young men to kick the ball. I cant help but stop for a moment, Ugandans, we love soccer!

One of my daughters just received her 4 month immunization, her schedule etched on my smartphone means she will not miss any of her shots. The government of Uganda has provided for free immunization, including next year, Rota Virus and HPV to protect our teenage gals against cervical cancers. I wish we could reach all children, considering they represent about 57% of this land. Uganda is young.

Driving through the surbubs you cannot miss the numerous mobile money sale points, nor the lads flipping chapatis. You cannot miss the spare parts shop or the clothes kiosk. Infact, you need to stop at the occasional fruit/vegetable stand. It feels like Uganda’s economy will be better – SACCOS and the Boda! Make no mistake, I would sell the boda to the world, if that’s all Uganda had to offer. Hundreds of young men (and the families they represent) have made fortunes on these 2 wheels – many are guaranteed to earn more than a dollar a day! Uganda is NOT poor!

I have been to 7 countries so far, and still, the only places my Ugandan passport can get me to without a visa are our 4 neighbors. Americans can get to 155 countries – if they want! We have not make enough friends in the world, not even on the African continent. The world can get into Uganda for $50 at your preferred port of entry. East Africans need only a national ID. Uganda is hospitable.

There will still be quite a bit of Uganda for me: my dear wife is from another tribe – when you have over 50 tribes, you need something to hold us together, and we’ve settled for the queen’s lingo.

Did I mention the oil? Oh well, that will be when we Uganda is 55 or thereafter!

So today as I celebrate my country’s independence, I wonder why my social security cant help me to invest in the booming property market – its mandatory for someone to hold my savings and decide how to use them in my interest!  Why give it to me when it could help me now.

I also wonder if i should expect an executive of 1 to engage others, a cabinet of 60 to debate seriously, how a parliament of 360 to make progress, a judiciary of recycled  (and untested) competencies to retain its moral authority; a government of hundreds to function cohesively and effectively; and how a young uneducated and untreated population to support the economy. Uganda is expensive to administrate.

Still, on Saturday 11th October, I will join a force of 40,000 Ugandan in red, white and yellow, and we will scream, should, drum, ululate and cheer the Uganda Cranes against Togo. Inspite of many things, soccer unites Ugandans.

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