People ask me all the time if I am scared about going to Uganda, especially when I go alone. My answer is always, “No, but…”
Just like when we lived in Nicaragua, when you visit a developing nation, especially as a “rich American,” you have to not be, well, stupid. You don’t leave your cell phone on the table when you get a drink refill. You don’t leave your purse in the shopping cart and turn your back to examine the cereal selection. You don’t walk alone in the dark. You don’t leave your laptop bag in your car.
Petty theft is 100% going to happen when half or more of the population is living in staggering poverty. It just is. But most of the time, violent crimes are perpetrated on their own people.
Early Monday morning, thugs, hopped up on moonshine or drugs, broke down the door to Monica’s house. They broke everything they could find, stole some of the mattresses and slashed the rest, and tried to rape one of the girls. Their 13-year-old brother fought back and is now in KCCA hospital.
Neighbors caught and beat one of the perpetrators severely — he’s at the police station but Ronald said, “The police won’t do much for now.” To be honest, that should read “for ever.” Because the police in the slum basically just manage crowd control, not actual crime. It’s just how it is.
Meanwhile, Monica’s family is left with virtually nothing and a brave boy in the hospital with a bill they will not be able to pay.
We love the dancing and happy success stories and smiling kids, of course. But this is also the reality of working in Uganda. And yes, it sucks.
We have an urgent project up on DonorSee for Monica and her family, to try to help them get back on their feet. We have purchased mattresses and bedding and some necessities in the meantime, which came out of our operating budget. We could really use your help on this one! Just click – it’s super fast and easy to donate, and 100% (minus processing fees of course) will go to the project.
PS We’d love for you to forward this link to anyone you know who might be interested in our work in Uganda! And if you’re looking for someone to speak at your club or event, please keep me in mind.