17 December 2007

"You don't understand Uganda!"

The worst insults are the ones that are true... or at least partially true...

When I was in Jr. High the worst thing for me was to be called a nerd... because I was a nerd...

Today I had a Ugandan screaming over the phone "you don't understand Uganda"... its true... but it still hurt...

I was trying to take a personal day off... just me and Christine... we have had at least 2 non-family members in our home since June... I haven't been good about taking days off unless its a sick day (of which I've had many of late)...and I just really wanted to hang out and have fun with my wife...

After an "emergency meeting" of which only half the staff showed up to... I went back home around 10 AM to start my day off... around 11:30 a friend new to the country called to remind me I promised to find him some workers to help unload his container from the US... the container was arriving in 15 minutes...

I called a student and had him organize a team of 6 workers and gave the details... 5000 UGS for 4 hours of work... problem solved... phone off...

Around 4 PM Christine and I left the boys at the house with the girls staying with us and we headed off for a every early dinner... senior citizen style... as a personal policy I leave my phone on whenever someone is watching the boys...

Throughout the meal I received 8 calls... it appears the "workers" revolted and refused to leave the house when the job was done... they were now demanding 10,000 UGS even though my friend increased their pay to 7000 UGS since they had worked hard...

Our friend... being fresh off the boat... left threatened and didn't know what to do... my student wasn't the problem but he refused to tell me who was the problem... by the 8th call the worker demanding 10,000 UGS got on the phone... he was a minister from the church...

I asked him why he was demanding more than he agreed to work for... he shouted over the phone... "you don't understand Uganda!"...

He's right... I don't... I don't understand why a family coming over to start an orphanage solely off their own personal savings is being over-charged and harassed by a church minister... I don't understand why the people giving aide always end up getting ripped off by people who don't need aide... and I don't understand why even though I am the one who has studied Ugandan and African culture for 2 years I am the one being accused of not being culturally sensitive...

So as a sit here unable to sleep I am seeing 2 things for certain... 1) I need to take another stab at a personal day with Christine again tomorrow because my frustration is largely the result of not taking a sabbath more often... 2) I need to accept that I don't understand Uganda but after a good rest I'm going to keep trying...

"Sticks and stones" isn't true... words do hurt... but in this case I'd be a fool not to listen...

1 comment:

Teenietinyt said...

I can only leave sympathy...because I understand and I've been there