Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This is Africa

The seats were filled that first morning of the project management class. Everyone arrived at a generally on-time hour, the first of many major feats. One man’s phone rang and off he went, never to return. “He was called to Kampala,” I was later informed. As our time together progressed, the student population thinned to the degree where there was little value in continuing to hold the class.

I did take a shower. Everyone seemed engaged with the content and the teaching style. Lots of questions led to good discussions. Light bulbs seemed to switch on. Where did they all go? Am I a horrible teacher? Was the content not what they hoped? What do I tell the program sponsors?

The reality is that such occurrences are quite common here in Uganda. People are called away to help a family member, to look for food, to return to work (even when the boss previously approved time away). Any host of reasons, most of which I can hardly imagine, affect everyday life and learning is at the very bottom of the priority list.

I always want to tell you the truth about how your money is being spent and how your projects are coming along. To do that, I need the freedom to say…TIA.