I am talking about the amazing country of Uganda….. Yes, on Oct 9, 2012, Uganda will be 50 years old….. 50 years of Independence. This small 236,000 square km landlocked country of 33 million people lies astride the equator has been described as the Pearl of Africa…bordered to the north by Sudan, the east by Kenya, the west by Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the southwest by Rwanda and the due south by Tanzania. Famous Lake Victoria lies in the southern part of the country is shared with Kenya and Tanzania…..

Uganda is the place where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle….a destination to see lions prowling the open plains, track chimpanzees through thick lush rain-forest, travel along tropical waterways like the Kazinga channel to see water buffalo and hippos or visit the majestic Rwenzori Mountains where half the world’s population of gorillas inhabit. This wide bio-diverse country is the home to more than 1,000 species of bird…. I truly understand why Lonely Planet declared Uganda as the Best Travel Destination for 2012…. Well done, Uganda.

For the past few weeks, the staff of the clinic have been discussion the growth and development of their country. It seems each person has an opinion of how good or how bad or what should be done or what could be done…. as much as this may be a time of reflection…. they each are excited to know that their African country is moving forward and slowly improving.

I am in Masaka, one of the top ten cities in Uganda…. and I am thrilled to be in Uganda during this special event…. There is only a few days left before the BIG DAY and there is an atmosphere of excitement in the air.. Everyone is in a joyful mood…. the shop keepers, the store clerks, the market vendors, the security guards, even the shoppers or customers….. everyone made it a point of giving me a blessing of thanks for 50 years of Independence….It is a time of celebration and plans are being made to enjoy the day with family and friends and of course good food. Some folks spoke about traveling long distances to spend the day with their loved ones….

I just hope that since Uganda is still a very young country the day will not be spoiled by riots and demonstrations causing the police to step in and become aggressive…… but that the people of Uganda will be able to see the amazing progress which has been accomplished in the past few years…. I have listened to many stories and learned what the country was like only a few years ago and can see such impressive improvements….. I have seen changes even over the past few months….. Uganda is a growing country and like all countries it will have changes which not everyone will agree with. BUT this is what comes with independence.

There is so much which could be said about Uganda…many know some bits of its history as well as some of its past leaders…. the country is still one of the poorest countries in the world where 40% of the population lives on less than $1.25 US per day and that 75 to 80% of the population live off the land in rural areas. BUT there is much more to Uganda…..there is its culture and cuisine along with the numerous “must see” points of interest for tourism….Uganda’s first 50 years may have been challenging but its resilient, hard working, entrepreneurial and friendly people are what is making the difference.

Kwa ajili ya Mungu na Nchi yangu…. is the motto for the country translated from Swahili means “For God and My Country”. If the people of Uganda continue to follow their country’s motto… their amazing country of Uganda will go far and do well…..

Congratulations for making it to 50 years!!!!!