Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meeting the Future President of Uganda

During the same hike as our below post, Tic Tac Corruption, another
experience immediately contrasted the actions of the pastor and again
left us feeling hopeful for the future of Uganda. This optimism is
embodied in a young man we call the “Future President of Uganda”

Among the children we noticed one local boy in particular with large
eyes and a ripped t-shirt that appeared near the back of the group and
cautiously watched our every step, while politely correcting foot
placements. We introduced ourselves to each other, his name was John,
a 13-year-old in school and we continued on our way.

Once we reached the top and realized that many of the locals expected
some sort of “payment” for accompanying us, John told us not to pay
them and that he didn’t expect anything. In fact, he even told the
other (much older) men to leave us alone. He told Kirsten under his
breath that they weren’t speaking right and were probably drunk –
something that we have seen is all too common among the men in Uganda
during the later afternoon hours.

We began our descent to hopefully avoid any sort of confrontation and
my friend John stayed right with us. On the way down, we talked about
American movies, the beautiful Uganda countryside, and were in awe of
his impressive English. Closer to the bottom of the hill, we started
telling him how much we appreciated his help and encouraged him to
stay in classes. Very casually he thanked us for our conversation and
said he’d stick with our group as we headed back to the hotel so we
could keep chatting.

As we meandered back to the hotel, Kirsten asked him a very common
American question that is asked of young children, “John, what do you
want to be when you grow up?”. He replied, with full confidence, “I
want to be the President of Uganda.”

In a country where corruption is rampant throughout the
system, young people like John, with the desire to see change, give us
hope for this beautiful country.

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