Ugandan Endeavor: Day 6 – Close to installation and setup

Wow, this morning we had these things called “donuts” and fruit salad for breakfast. Nothing like American donuts, but friend dough of some sort. I was quite happy that my ride to pick me up at 8am showed up just after 9am. I’m happy that I have had to experience the 2+ hour delay that the others have for rides.
So, I went in early to Mbale to begin to finalize plans for the internet café. We met with UTL (Uganda Telecom) today to discuss an option for a dedicated line offering 128-256 kbps (that’s little “b” mind you) ranging from $300-650 USD / month. However, if we are not eligible for the educational discount then the prices are doubled. The manager at UTL said we needed to provide a prospectus and proposal for what we are trying to do for his review since the schools/orphanages are not officially registered as part of the Ugandan Ministry of Education.
After this meeting, we were able to meet with one of the guys who will likely be our main employee for the café; we’re stealing him from another internet café. We showed him the potential location and we gave a list of things that needed to be fixed in the location for us to rent the place. After this, Jane and I worked on the prospectus and proposal over lunch. As it turns out, the information about all of the schools to include in the prospectus we requested didn’t actually show up as we expected. We then requested again that somebody else coming into town bring us the info. Finally, the director of the orphanage was coming into town and then proceeded to call of the people and get them to tell him the contact information for each school/orphanage. What a grueling process or patience. Considered that I requested this information at 10am, the fact that I didn’t get anything until after 5pm was a bit frustrating. Things like this make any progress at all very difficult.
I was finally able to complete the print them out and give them to the manager at UTL. I told him that I would email him a soft copy because the branch manager would be in Kampala for a couple days. However, when I went to email the documents to him I found out that they were both infected with viruses. So Gmail wouldn’t let me send the files. So, there went a bunch of effort down the tubes. However, after coming back to the orphanage I was able to reconstruct the content after some work. But, it’s just frustrating that all my work was destroyed because of viruses on the internet café computers. However, I knew that this was a problem, but I didn’t think about it because it’s not a problem I ever have to deal with.
I learned even more today the level of deception that exits here. It’s quite phenomenal. There are all sorts of alliances, lying, cheating, and manipulation that exists between so many people – even people that presume to be on your side and your friend. It’s very disheartening to see how selfishness is so prevalent, yet these people can be so friendly to your face. However, not to sound completely down, there are some really great honest caring people. I am very excited about the fact that we believe we have at least a couple of guys involved in the project that are honest.
I have been very impressed the abilities and accomplishments of many of these young people. They have been required to grow up so early – sometimes living alone or supporting younger siblings at the age of 9. There are also some really amazing people here that care for many many orphans or minister in other ways. One guy is 17 and currently is running several youth groups for homeless children in Northern Uganda. Another guy is also 17 and is pastors a church living in very humble conditions (even for Uganda).
There are many things that are looking up. Tomorrow, much more will be known about how thing will progress. I’m excited to see what happens. If we can secure an internet connection and location, then I can begin moving very quickly to stand up the operation.
May God bless our work. I love the fact everyone here relies on God for everything. They can see when and how God blesses them. They recognize his presence, when I am so accustomed to discounting things as mere activities rather God’s involvement. I hope that I learn to God as these people see God.

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Jason Lund

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