Tag Archives: jobs

7-Circle of Life: Economics

Road to Murchison Falls

If I thought the effects of globalism and technology are bad in the US, I don’t even have a word to describe its effects for the people of Uganda. The poverty here is unprecedented in the US. There are people walking the streets at stopping lights trying to sell food, maps of Africa, and other things. There are billboards advertising for 20 MB of mobile data for less than 300 Ugandan shillings (8 cents). There are people carrying wood, water, and other things on their heads as they walk to their destination. I have not seen one iphone.

The US is already feeling the effects of globalism and technology. Car companies have replaced people with robots. “Made in China” is branded into most products. These are just a few examples of the initial effects of the march of capitalism. Even this beginning phase has garnered a strong response from the workers who have lost their jobs. There is a pervasive fear that robots will replace people and that other countries can out compete the US in producing cheaper goods. The result is the lack of money to pursue our happiness.

To the average person in this part of the world, the pursuit of happiness through money is not something to be lost because they never had it in the first place. With robots making human labor obsolete, the dollars these people earn per week will disappear. The unrest that results from this system will be revolutionary. It is already happening. Uganda is one among many of the countries in the developing world. It has many fierce competitors who can create the same goods for a cheaper price. In fact, agriculture makes up 72% of the Ugandan GDP and industry just 4%.

If people in the US are worried about the effects of globalism and technology, it is because they are scared they will have to live people live today in the developing world. Technology could turn America into a third world country and turn third world countries into fifth world countries unless there is a major shift in the momentum of Modernity. This reflection doesn’t even mention South Sudan. A country like that is in the Dark Ages compared to the US. My only hope is that countries like Uganda don’t turn towards a war over resources turning itself into another South Sudan.

 

 

 

A Job to Love

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

These wise words by Confucious have been playing through my mind ever since I graduated high school and the most commonly asked question became, “What would you like to do with your life?”

Hearing this question, I always responded, “I want to do what makes me happy, I want to be adventurous and I want to make a difference in this world”. Yet, I always knew that this was not the answer my relatives, teachers, coaches, and friends were wishing for.

The truth was, I did not know the answer to their implied question. I had many passions and interests, but did not know how to mesh them into a single career that I would love.

After the backpack journalism program however, I can now confidently reply that I would like to be happy, adventurous, and make a difference throughout my career as a journalist.

Working hands-on to create a documentary film, I have come to the conclusion that journalism is what I love to do.

I love the adventure that awaits in every story, interview, or location. I relish in hearing fascinating stories, and I am motivated by learning about social justice issues. The spontaneity of the development process keeps me on my toes and I am energized by the complex writing and editing required.

Most of all, I love that through journalism, I am able to tell a story that needs to be told to the people that most need to hear. With a career in journalism, I see that there is a real possibility of making a difference in the world and I hope that this possibility begins now, with our Bethel documentary.

Journalists in action shooting footage in the Alaskan Tundra
Journalists in action shooting footage in the Alaskan Tundra

 

Taking notice

Now that the initial shock of how drastically different Uganda is from anything else I’ve ever seen, I’ve begun to notice more things. We’ve spent a good amount of time on the bus and all I can do is look out the window. My plan was to do some reading during the time we spend going from place to place, but I’m absolutely mesmerized.

One of the things that sticks out the most to me is that there are a number of people who just sit out along the side of the road and watch the cars go by. I’m sure it’s not every day that they see a bus full of Mzungus drive by.

Herbert, our guide, told us that the unemployment rate was about 40% – and we freak out if unemployment rates touch 8%! My guess is that the people staring off into the distance, watching cars go by, or the men who sit together on their motorcycles all day are the ones who are unemployed. For me, it’s hard to understand why they would just spend the day doing nothing. I mean, shouldn’t they at least by making things or doing something with their hands?

If it were me, I’d get restless and stir crazy. I’m used to being on the go all the time. I guess it makes me feel incredibly lucky to have two jobs.

Crazy Mzungus...