Saturday, February 28, 2009

We are all connected now

Honora Englander is back in Oregon after her service in Uganda:

I made it back to Portland after a long (38 hour!) journey. I'll leave you with a short story from my travels home.

On my ride across Uganda, my driver, Habert, talked to me about old age. He is 36 years old, middle-aged by Ugandan standards where the life expectancy for men is 42 years (per the WHO). “Will I reach 50?” he asked me rhetorically several times. He explained that many of his friends from football and childhood have died from a host of causes - traffic accidents, malaria, HIV. I noticed more than anything that he didn’t say this with much regret or grief, but instead with a kind of stoic acceptance of this is the way of life here. As we drove through roads lined by mud homes with tin roofs and stands selling mangoes, tomatoes, potatoes and bananas, I was curious to imagine what these communities looked like 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 36 years ago.

Habert shared with me differences that he remembers from his childhood compared with his own children’s. I asked what he thought the major drivers of change have been in his lifetime – has Uganda been affected most by relative political stability, HIV, Western presence? “Mobile phones,” he answered, without hesitation, and went on to explain. “Now, you can be a peasant farmer on a banana plantation in Uganda, and you can be talking on the phone with someone in Kampala, or someone in America. We are all connected now.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have discussed everything in this email except for what the physician's will be loosing. Are they going to be loosing any of their benefits? This email is directed towards the people at the top and the people at or near the bottom. I know what types of incentives are given so we can obtain the best and brightest during recruitment but they make the most money and this email does not discuss them loosing anything.

I am sitting here with co-workers some of who are single parents. The raise we will not get is not just 3% but it becomes more if you loose two as most of us will. If you are giving out raises for Jan 1 through April 1 this seems a bit unfair. It should have been all of 2009 not just 9 months worth. I myself loose two raises.

What about people that were planning a vacation within your earned time suspension? They may have planned on those 4 days. Longer notice would have been nicer.

We all work hard and we are all in the same financial crisis so to take our raises, suspend our earned time and not match our 401K. There are no more benefits for most of us. Health insurance is a must in MA so really not a benefit.

I write this with a bit of sadness as I feel we have lost all of our benefits no just a few.