Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday April 7, 2011

I was graciously picked up by Vincent Ssekate, Dean of Faculty, of Kisubi Brothers College Campus of Ugandan Martyr's University. Got that? We experienced a harrowing ride through Kampala. You do not know traffic until you come here. In other countries, traffic lights are optional but here, living is optional. There are trucks and cars coming in all directions and motorcyclists, sans protection, just weave right, left, behind, in front, on both sides of the road. Luckily speeding is impossible. I mentioned the police presence. Well, apparently, they look for unsuspecting souls. My poor driver missed a red light, well they are hard to see with cars stacked in front of you and in many intersections, even though the light is red, the police wave you on. It is a bigger infraction to tie up traffic. Well, anyway, one very angry female police officer decided to stop us and asked for Brother Vincent's (with the crucifix on) driver's permit. She spoke English but differently and could find at least 1000 words and ways to say, "I am going to give you a ticket" Brother Vincent didn't want a ticket and I, certainly, didn't want to accompany him to court? or wherever they go. Then she gets in the car and asks him to move up and park, which he did. It became somewhat obvious that she wanted money but she wouldn't ask and he wouldn't offer because he did not want another ticket for bribery. So they went round and round with her insisting she was going to give him a ticket but no ticket emerged. She told him to get out of the car, so he did, and then she said why are you getting out of the car -that he could offer something. FINALLY! This is about 20 minutes later. I am as quiet as a church mouse, pretending I don't speak English although Vincent kept saying that he told me he might have passed a red light. So now I am deaf instead. (I kept remembering my family saying not to get into trouble. I was dying to offer her something but I kept my cool- didn't want to find myself in a Ugandan jail.) He reaches for his wallet and he only had larger bills. She told him where to get change so we drove WITH THE POLICE OFFICER IN THE BACK SEAT to a gas station to make change. He then gave her about $10 ---and then WE DROVE HER BACK to her post. Unbelievable. Getting the ticket would have cost about $30 but they might also confiscate your license until you pay up in a bank. I know that was not the story you were expecting. Sorry. So, we traveled to Kisubi Brothers College and tried to figure out why, when I was collaborating with the three colleges last year, I was never getting any emails from Vincent. I thought he didn't know how to use email and I kept sending Larry and Kenneth (other collaborators) there to get information. They all assured me that the emails were sent. Today, I could even see they were in his Sent box. Hmmmnnn. Because we were using a yahoogroups listserv, I then asked him to log into the listserv to see if they got THAT far. HA! None had made it to the listserv. Something was happening on his end. Sooo.... I (cleverly) put the listserve and my personal email address in his Trusted Sites and voila! problem solved! That took a while. Then I gave a small demonstration to some administrators, met lots of Kisubi employees. The registrar actually wanted to know more about our registration system. Vincent and I made a plan to meet with 6 people to train them on the XOs and the distance learning platform I set up on Jenzabar. Mission accomplished in that we finally secured a communications plan for the next grant proposal. We made the careful but harrowing journey back, just amazed at how everyone went through the red lights because it was really up to the police officer at the corner. The red and green lights were for decoration. Merry Christmas! Spent a couple of hours trying to get my computer online at the guest house again. The tech at Kisubi changed the IP address but I didn't know it. It wasn't until I took the IP from another computer at the house and changed the number by one did I finally get on. So here I am at midnight, blogging. Good Night!!!

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