A Local’s Perspective

A year in Mbarara

We have said it before: all aid is not good aid.  This pertains to human capital as well as material goods. Ugandans, in their infinite politeness, will bend over backward to accommodate visitors, and are quite reluctant to criticize them openly.  So people come, receive very little feedback on their performance or their impact, and they go.  They return home with great knowledge and experience, great stories “from the field,” and great photos of classic textbook pathology, the visiting professional on rounds, and photogenic Uganda.  Many are the students and trainees who arrive without supervision and boss the locals around in an apparent attempt to exert control in an otherwise chaotic situation.  Many are the researchers who may teach a few sessions but spend limited or no time living the life of a local health care provider.  Many are the potential donors who fly business class across oceans and are…

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