Thursday, 4 October 2007

Frustrating Days

One of the things you have to get used to here is having days when nothing seems to go right and the endless bureaucracy thwarts you at every turn. In my case I am in the second of 'one of those days'. Yesterday, aside from the water being off, the internet being down and getting very little sleep due to a huge middle of the night argument between the on duty warden and an 'unauthorised guest', it was the library system that got to me.

I was looking for a book in order to begin a piece of coursework of which, according to the online catalogue (I think I must be the only user on campus), there were four copies in two different libraries. The social sciences librarian keeps his entire stock memorised in his head so looked very confused when I quoted him a classmark. He did, however, know the book by title and while it was out at the moment he promised to reserve it for me. Next stop the main university library where I was quickly dismissed for having the temerity to ask for a book during the lunch hours (it was 12 o'clock). I decided to console myself by picking up my post (sorry the letter must have been lost), collecting my ID card (not yet arrived from Germany), applying for my Visa extension (where is your letter from the Dean of students?) and eventually returning to the social sciences library (still no sign of it, come back tomorrow). That will teach me to try and do more than one piece of admin per day...

Anyway 'rant over' as surprisingly much more important things are happening in Kampala than my quest for library books. Makerere students have burnt down the warden's office in one of the undergraduate halls of residence in protest at the refusal to allow them to privately fundraise for renovations to dormitories. Indeed, upkeep of Makerere has become a major political issue since a boundary fence costing 2 billion shillings (just over half a million pounds) was washed away during a rainstorm. The Government run daily, New Vision, is asking in its editorial today why the 'Harvard of Africa' (optimistic) has been starved of funds, and urges the Government to consider a tax rebate rather than forcing the University to hike its fees. Let's hope a resolution is reached soon before anything else is burned down!

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