15 Notre Dame MBA students and 3 Kroc Institute Peace Studies students embarking in journeys to the Philippines, Uganda, and Rwanda in an effort use business as a means to build societies that are or have been in conflict.
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.