Happy Valentines Day. It has been a busy wonderful weekend and I have at least three blogs churning though my little brain. The Ugandan presidential debate last night, save for later, church, this morning, hmm, perhaps tomorrow, the village, later as well.
Let me begin with a shout out to all those who have dined with me over the years at Faze II or Faze III. Hands down, they serve the best meat in Uganda! Carly, Timba and I all had pork for lunch after church today at Faze II. The ribs were not quite Woody’s or Jethro’s but still delicious. The butter chicken and naan are still my favorites but I have dined on plenty of Indian dishes lately so that will be for another time. Tradition has been to have butter chicken at Faze III the last meal before leaving the country, time will tell.
But now, drum roll…. today’s blog topic…
It is estimated that Uganda’s youth (under 30) unemployment rate is approximately 80%. That includes the vast numbers matriculating from Uganda’s universities each term. In stark contrast, word has it that my business college’s spring graduating class had 100% placement with many staying in town! While US college graduates cannot take that ideal job opportunity for granted – the odds are much more in their favor!
For ten years we have been partnering with a large business school here in Uganda, where each summer we bring together students from both universities to study sustainable development. Last evening I had the absolute delight of spending the evening with five amazing Ugandan young people from the class two years ago. We had a feast of beef stew and noodles and ice cream and cookies. We talked and laughed while the televised Ugandan presidential debate (all five hours of it) caught our attention from time to time.
There were nine in that class that joined us two years ago. A year ago they braved the mid west snow and bitter cold to spend time on our campus. Each has taken a special place in my heart. After officially graduating a few weeks ago, here are the stats: four are employed in Uganda, three are employed abroad, and two still looking for employment. They are certainly defying the odds but it is still not 100%. I have been impressed with each of them; articulate, intelligent, engaging, and motivated. Maybe the key is entrepreneurship – a couple of them are trying it. Uganda is a land of lots of opportunities – but too many barriers as well. These amazing young people are the future of this country! My hope and prayer is that the country realizes their untapped potential for greatness! With love, I wish them the very best!