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President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Bus Rapid Transit vs. Rail
League Testifies - on the General Excise Tax Surcharge - 1 (Arlene Ellis)
League Testifies - on the General Excise Tax Surcharge - 2 (Astrid Monson)
League Testifies - Rail
League Testifies - Resort Mixed Use
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Olelo
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Letter to the Editor

The NEW VISION, February 8. 1992

PAJERO ROBBERY SPOILS IMAGE

SIR - At 7:50 a.m. of December 1, a Project vehicle was stolen while being driven along a residential area. Because of this loss, some patients in Mulago Hospital were not attended to; some surgery was delayed; a vital nurse had to stop helping in the operating room for lack of transport.

For us in Pajero, it was frightening. The thieves had a gun. Although they did not point it directly at us, we did not struggle, fearing for our lives against five men and an AK-47.

Other than our immediate fears, we were minimally inconvenienced as compared to closing our home, saying goodbye to family and friends, and paying for our airfare to travel halfway around the world. We did this in some small way give to others what we received in abundance.

While we feel only frustration in being hampered in performing our volunteer work here, it makes a significant difference to the patients we fail to treat and the bright and eager students whom we are helping to educate.

From another point of view it may appear that the donors can well afford the loss, even if the theft itself was deplorable. However, the Pajero was given to serve some medical needs of the people of Uganda. It cannot do that now.

If it is replaced, it will be monies taken from some other project allocated for your assistance. Only certain number of dollars are budgeted, and when spent no further monies are available until the following fiscal year.

Even those dollars have a specific limit. In other words, when wasting foreign money, it is really your own money that is thrown away.

Why mention this incident? By itself it is an insignificant incident in your history, but it is such incidents that poison the very fabric of your society - something your country can now ill afford.

This incident may point out that each of you has a stake in stopping criminal activities and dishonesty. That Pajero was driven into some garage or yard where somebody nearby should have noticed that it didn't belong. Even an anonymous tip to some authority might have led to the recovery of the vehicle.

And finally, when I return home and try to recruit volunteers, I will recount the friendliness of the people, their sense of perspective and humor, their-commitment to doing right, to working hard, to learning and to not revert the violence of the past.

But I also mention those five men and their gun and our fears of that moment and a lasting sense of anxiety at being violated.

Lawrence H. Gordon, M.D.
Health Volunteers, Overseas Kampala

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