Public Transportation: African Style
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Sorry it has been so long since the last blog! We promise to make up for it with a couple this week.I am going to start this entry with a story that explains something I now appreciate in America. I have never been too fond of speed bumps. When I was sixteen, I got a small sedan for my first car. From the beginning, I learned to get one side of the car around the bump or drive diagonally over the big ones (like the mountains at the Coldwell Banker offices on the South loop). Well in Africa, four speed bumps are put right next to each other constantly on the highway from our town to the capital, Kampala. These are used to keep speeds down on the 1-2 hour drive.
Recently, I had to go to Kampala to pick up some groceries. The cheapest way to do this is to take a taxi. To give you a vivid picture, imagine the outside resembling an old VW bus and the inside looking like that of a can of sardines. These small taxi vans, which would comfortably hold 10-12, are transformed by magic or some strange African mathematics and physics into 15 (or sometimes 18) passenger vans. As you can imagine, it gets quite stuffy without an A/C on a hot African day. This particular drive started normally, with constant speeding up and slowing down for the speed bumps. There was, however, a certain man in the back row whose stomach was very susceptible to motion sickness. Now I don't think I have to explain what happened next, (to save those who also have sensitive stomachs) but he hurled his guts up all over the crowded back seat.
This story was not just to explain why I dislike speed bumps. It more broadly shows my new found appreciation for taxes. In America, taxes pay for policemen. Without taxes, there is not enough police presence to patrol the roads. When there are no traffic police, like in Uganda, bumps have to be installed every hundred yards to maintain traffic speed. Therefore, taxes can prevent unnecessarily smelly taxi drives.
This is the taxi park in Kampala to give you an idea of the typical Uganda taxi experience!This trip however was a success. For those that donated money for school supplies, thank you! We were able to get 200 toothbrushes and enough toothpaste for all the orphans at King's Kid. We also got plenty of books, notebooks, chalk, paper, etc. It will be another successful semester at the school.We also need to update on the pig farm we started. Raising pigs is BIG money here in Uganda. To help make King's Kid medical clinic and the new bible university self-sustainable, we invested in building a good structure and starting the farm with some piglets. These baby pigs cost around $20 each, and we started with 6 of them. Once each female is 8 months old, they can begin to reproduce twice a year. Each litter is between 12-14 piglets, so each momma pig can generate over $500 profit each year. There is a medical clinic on the orphanage grounds that has had a difficult time keeping medicine stocked. This pig farm will be able to easily cover those expenses. We are planning on expanding, but are starting with a small number to get accustomed to the work.
The pig pens! More construction and piglet pictures can be found on Kimberly's facebook. Projects like this farm are also very good for some of the children. They do all of the feeding, cleaning, and maintenance on the pigs. A few boys from the school have really latched on to this job, which will provide great vocational training for them. We just got back from the great Kenya trip with the Church on the Rock team this week! It was great, but we will write about that later this week. Thank you for your continuing prayers and support! We have another project coming up involving the local hospital, and will keep you posted!--Eric