Welcome to the Canadian Co-operative Association's international development blog devoted to the Uganda/Malawi and Ghana coaching programs taking place in January 2011. With volunteers working on the frontline of development, experience the missions through their photos, words and videos.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting to work...

After breakfast we walked to the MUSCCO, which is the Central, and had a meeting with Sylvester, the CEO; Lillian, Business Development Manager and Swanzie, Business Development Officer.  Also attending the meeting was Fumbani, Head of Finance and Administration. The meeting was very informal but productive. Again I might mention the friendly nature of the Malawi people and these people treat you like none other.

   From there we said goodbye to the other teams and Scott and I started off to our SACCO's we would be meeting. We did find out that although the distance is only 470 kms we would not make it there today which I found unusual. But after about one hour of travel I knew why. 

   Let me start. You do not drive for 200 meters without passing someone walking by the road. There are numerous villages that you must reduce your speed to 50kms an hour. The traffic starting out was very heavy as Lilongwe is a city of 2 million people. the roads are in good condition but very curvy. It may seem frustration to many of you but what a truely beautiful road to travel that you cannot try to do justice by describing and pictures I'm sure will only tell half the story. Truly amazing!

Brad Shultz - Malawi

Stewart Oke at the equator - Uganda
We had a great drive out with Francis our driver for the next two weeks…it is about 140 kms to Masaka and we arrived roughly 2.5 hours after leaving Kampala.  In order to avoid the morning rush hour traffic, we travelled through some of the suburbs of Kampala and really saw how the poorest of the poor in Africa live…it was difficult to witness and tugged at the heart strings. 
About 100 kms  from Kampala we reached the Equator!!!  We stopped and took some pictures standing on the monument that separates the Northern Hemisphere from the Southern Hemisphere.  This was a very cool experience !!  The equator crosses the highway at about a 45 degree angle, so they have a monument on each side as well as a bowl with water that demonstrates that the water does not ‘swirl’ left or right!!
When we arrived in Masaka (Masaka is both a district of Uganda as well as a city within the district) we learned that the current President of Uganda, who is seeking re-election, will be holding a major rally right outside of our hotel.  They are expecting thousands of people and they are preparing the area as I write this.  (setting up tents, cleaning the area, pruning tress etc)  There is also a huge army presence in the area.  Major security for this event. 
This evening we will meet with Richard who is the regional director for the credit unions in Masaka.  He will provide more specific information about the credit unions we will be visiting over the next two weeks.  We look forward to meeting him and learning as much as we can about our work here in Uganda.
Stewart Oke - Uganda


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