After a whole day of walking around Kampala, seeing most of the central parts of the city we spent our first night with Emmanuel, a friend of Denis who is helping us with practical things. We were sitting in our hotel bar, us sharing a coke, the three men all drinking hard liquor. We had some questions about the school system and higher education in Uganda after visiting the girls school where Emmanuel is a teacher.
According to Emmanuel the statistics says that there are four times as many women as men here in Uganda. In the university there are more women then men but not as many as four times more. He goes on explain why this is so, which leads us into talking about bridal prices. A man who wants to marry a woman has to pay her family a bridal price. After the wedding the bride becomes a part of her husband’s family.
A daughter’s futures income benefits her future husband’s family while the son’s future income will benefit his own family.
That’s why parents rather educate their sons then their daughters. Basically a woman’s income is never her own. It goes from being beneficial in terms of bridal prices to benefit the future husband’s family.
The following day we reached Kisoro after 10 hours on a bus. We met with Denis who took us to the guesthouse that will be our home for some time. So far we are very happy with it. We’ve not spend much time in Kisoro yet, just enough to take a walk around town, trying to locate ourselves, the market place, the bank, some stores and all that jazz.
We spent our first night in our new home talking to three Swedish social work students who’s been here since august and are about to leave. They’ve spent their time doing work placement at a school for disabled children. We were talking about the way social work is conducted here and what they’ve done. They said talking about feelings is frowned upon and that they were expected to teach during their stay here.
The only social worker they’ve met had counselling sessions with married couples regarding domestic violence. These sessions are meant to identify what within the woman’s behaviour provokes her husband to beat her and therefore make it possible for her to change, make her husband happier and the marriage will thus be saved.
During workshops with the children one of the topics were alcohol. Every boy in the workshop said the same thing – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday the fathers goes out drinking, come home late, drunk and in a bad mood. They beat the boys’ mothers and sometime also the children. The mothers and children run away from the fathers, sleeps in the woods with the other families and in the morning the boys go to school together. This is something the boys easily talk about and chare with each other. There is no stigma, no shame and no self blame.
We tend to ask a lot of questions. Stay tuned – next week hopefully more about health care system. Might actually be related to what we are here to write about (being preventive interventions regarding cervical cancer).