Saturday, June 13, 2009

resurfacing...and roads

Ugandlisht was supposed to keep me on track with updating this blog, but it failed miserably. A few nights ago, while hiding under the mosquito net in my room at Bomah, I started making Ugandlishts. A few hours later, when I was ready to call up friends to get a vote on "best pizza in kampala," I looked at my phone - it was past 1 am. I decided to give Ugandlishts and myself a rest.

I started a consultancy on 1 May, and it's kept me pretty occupied. We're working on a proposal for a new USAID project in Northern Uganda. It will bring a big investment in local government capacity-building - by implementing lots of infrastructure projects using the procurement process in place at the district level. That means lots of community roads in the north - using labor-intensive construction methods. Aside from general development (and the very obvious fact that NU needs lots of road improvements), roads mean a lot for economic development. In NU, it's the difference between farming for subsistence and farming for livelihood - the road connects to market. In the case of this project, it's also infusing much needed cash into the economy through the provision of jobs for unskilled laborers within returning communities. Community roads are pretty easy to construct, they just need oversight and lots of willing and able labor.

So, since the beginning of May, I've been immersed in the world of - gasp - planning. It's been a truly engaging project, and I'm loving how much it gets me up to Gulu. I'm currently logging my fourth trip since the consultancy began. It also pushed back my return to the US for visiting the family (sorry mom and dad), which means I won't be on the road til June 24. Roads, roads, roads. On the road again...tomorrow morning, back to Kampala.

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