Know that. It may take years to build a good reputation, but it takes little to shatter it beyond repair.
Every once in a while, I find myself in a situation where I’m at a loss for words. A couple of weeks ago, it was the story of a few young Americans who came to Uganda with so much hope and enthusiasm to help in a school for orphans, however, their dream was short-lived.
A friend’s tale
One of the young women told me, she had found a website advertising a school of orphans living with HIV who needed assistance in Uganda. For many unsuspecting young minds looking to serve humanity, the combination of names such as Africa, orphans and HIV makes a perfect avenue to render services and feel part of the human race where its members help each other to have a better life.
Meeting a Ugandan
So after the web search, the young woman managed to meet a man living in the United States who said he was from Uganda. He asked her to make a contribution towards joining the programme. This she managed to fundraise for. She was also asked for a monthly payment of $300 (Shs750,000) as contribution for her food and accommodation.
Once in Uganda and as the first month went by, she discovered that the huge monthly contribution was nowhere near what the volunteers or the children were getting in return and on top of that, there was not much for them to do as service. Woken up from her dream, she did a bit of investigation and met others who had paid all their money in advance and had nothing left but a ticket back home.
She was lucky to find a good Samaritan who helped her with accommodation until the date of her departure. And during that time, she managed to meet many wonderful Ugandans. She told me that she would not leave with bitterness but she and other volunteers would try and stop others from falling in the same trap.
A few months ago, a close friend who is in trade, received an e-mail from a company asking him to provide them with some services.
Interestingly, this company was from Uganda. So, my friend sent me a message asking if this was a credible company that he could invest his time and effort in by giving it a quotation. It did not take long for me to find out that there was no such company in Uganda, but I asked him to play along. As expected, at some point there were some financial traps and that was when my friend stopped corresponding.
With so much to offer to the world, it is sad that this kind of unscrupulous people misrepresent Uganda and sometimes beyond repair.
Maybe it is time for some action to be taken to stop them and make of them examples for others who think that for a few quick dollars, they can spoil the image of a whole country.