Ugandan Endeavor: Day 4 – Mbale

Breakfast this morning was bread with butter and some bananas. I then picked up a ride into the city, Mbale, to check out potential locations for the internet café as well as to see what other internet cafes in the area have to offer. Surprisingly, for Africa, I was able to accomplish these tasks quite quickly and got a ride back to the orphanage. One place that we looked at looked quite good for a location although it wasn’t on the street itself. The other place was up a ladder above a copy shop – yea right. Al of the cafes in Mbale are quite slow. One of them has newer computers which is nice, however the internet speed is about the same as the rest. I really think that these places need to look into some sort of Quality of Service or load balancing software. We can’t have a few users using up the bandwidth detracting from the user experience of the rest of the customers. Some of the employees have said that the internet is slow because somebody else is probably downloading something big. I just wish that instead of accepting problems that the culture was more inclined to look for solutions. But, maybe that is just my mentality because God has gifted me with abilities.

I sent an email to Patrick inquiring about potential locations in Kampala to start an internet café and I hinted at the idea of partnership. He texted me, telling me to check my email. Of course, without electricity or anything at the orphanage I had to get a ride back into Mbale. I missed my ride because I was out climbing trees looking for mangos. However, when I returned I asked the only guy with a car if he was going into town and he said he was going to go in half an hour. What a great surprise. The flip side is that the group that left just as I was returning had asked him for a ride only an hour earlier and he said he wasn’t going into town.

I also just found out that the $100 I paid for a ride from Kampala to the orphanage was already given to the guy who was going around with me. However, when it came time to book my travel, he told me that we would take public transport. I told him that was unacceptable and he said I would have to pay for the ride then. Of course, I didn’t realize that he was given money for a private ride to the orphanage. I guess he just used most of the money and only kept enough to get us there on public. This stuff happens all the time. I hear stories about this multiple times a day. It’s very discouraging.

After arriving in Mbale for the second time, I checked my email and saw that Patrick was quite interested in a partnership. As to be expected, because a connection with US people would be a significant business advantage. I have already demonstrated to him that I have ideas for solving some of the issues his business is currently facing. I think that a partnership can significantly increase his profits in general and he can manage the new café. We’ll have to work on the terms, but in general this should be highly beneficial for both of us. We’ll see what happens.

Before heading back to the orphanage, I heard that Jane was at the hospital because one of the girls with us got malaria. Turns out that she only has one strain whereas one of the other girls had four strains of it. Getting malaria takes a couple of days out of you. So, I’m hoping not to get it. My ride back to the orphanage left with out me. I’m not sure why, he said he would stop by at the hospital and get me on his way back. But he never showed. Eventually, I was able to get another ride, but again – frustration.

Dinner was as usual – Bananas with Potatoes or Rice and beans to pour over them. It’s way better than what the kids get – flour and water boiled into clumps. It has no flavor whatsoever. Goodnight

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Jason Lund

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