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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Uganda

Ugandan Independence Day was this past weekend.  Ugandans are celebrating Moses Kipsiro's victories at the Commonwealth Games, winning gold in the men's 5000m and 10,000m races, an historic accomplishment in a field of very strong Kenyan runners. And celebrating the oil soon to flow and enrich the country.  And the money that will come in the wake of being named the security hub for the region, with the EU coming to train the military in response to the Al-Shabab related bombings in Kampala a few months ago.  One Ugandan is not celebrating, that is Basiime Godfrey, who reports that his visa rejection letter was pre-printed, that the hasty interview consisted of four questions about his marital status and properties and then a summary dismissal with not even a glance at his extensive medical documentation.  We and a number of other concerned friends are contacting our congressional representatives' offices to appeal the hasty and baseless rejection.  And I have to say the professional responsiveness from our representative (Frank Wolf) and the can-do enthusiasm from friends in Virginia, Illinois, and California, balances the disappointment we felt with the embassy's treatment of Basiime.  

And there are a couple of Ugandan-American kids here who are still longing for their home.  Julia woke up yesterday craving a mango, and misses the sunsets.  Usually they take America in stride, but this weekend we drove a couple of times down a nearby road and passed what used to be a "kennel".  Now it is called a pet motel, with "resort and spa" written under it.  Jack and Julia had a long discussion in the back seat, one insisting that the resort and spa were for the owners of the pets, and the other daring to conjecture that it was for the pets themselves. Services such as "pool" and "beauty" were listed on the side.  When we concluded it was all for pets, they were incredulous.  

As Uganda moves into the 49th year of independence, our hearts are there.  But we are slightly more settled these days, for several days at a time anyway, taking Grammy to doctors' appointments, braving more dentist visits. taking kids to music lessons and soccer practice . . . and even a day of shopping, jeans all around for the impending cooler weather.  Shoes will have to follow.  

1 comment:

lauradodson said...

I hope this is an appropriate question...

Are you scheduled to return to Uganda?