Thursday, I met a young man named Moses. He was one of those types, you know the kind–small, sweet, beautiful and feminine. The type that just makes you want to pick him up and take care of him. Which, of course, is precisely what he’s looking for. After he told me his story, he asked me if I knew of any white men that would want to be his partner and take care of him. I imagine I probably do, though I am not all that familiar with the sexual interests of my gay male friends, I must admit. I attempted to talk to Moses about pursuing gainful employment (to his credit, he is working as a waiter in a bar) that would be more lucrative (he has some tailoring skills). He was mildly interested. He is awfully cute and charming. My greatest fear is how vulnerable he would be in an exploitive or abusive relationship. I’m sure this is a familiar scenario to many of you.
Friday, I met with the Bishop and then we went over to Makerere University to meet with Dr. Sylvia Tamale. She is the Dean of the Law School and an outspoken advocate for gay & lesbian rights. It is a sign of the changing times that she was elected to be Dean, particularly since the Chancellor (who also happens to be Prime Minister of Uganda) is a vehement homophobe. She is also, obviously , a woman, and not very old, probably not even 40 (though my ability to estimate these things is not very reliable). That’s the good news. The bad news? Just the day before the head of the Academic Union said in a press conference that they are going to be vigilant in pursuing homosexuals on campus.
The plot, however, thickens. Dr. Tamale was rather disgusted with this pronouncement. I think she may be more than slightly embarrassed by such shows of ignorance by those representing her University. Later in the day, though, I heard that Victor had actually gone and talked to the man and explained to him that homosexuality is not an act or a crime but rather an orientation. Now, perhaps he was putting on a show, but it was reported to me that he was actually surprised to hear this and that he was going to rethink his position.
I had another meeting later on Friday with a man who is the chair of one of the other gay & lesbian groups in town. One of the things he said was that all this publicity was actually having quite a positive affect. Because these big men get up and bluster on about how people are recruiting University students into homsexuality, the "man on the street" is now all interested to know why well-educated young people would find this tempting. Is it for money? Do they enjoy it? What is the reason? So, everytime one of these guys gets up to denounce homsexuality, it creates a tremendous buzz on the street, which over time is actually beginning to educate the populace. Newspapers and political pronouncements here are notoriously unreliable so most people put a lot more stock in what they hear from other people.
The Bishop is trying to build up Integrity with some reliable, hard-working, skilled people and he has a few. They are now creating a proposal to setup a micro-loan fund and I met with David, who had written the first draft. It needs lots of work and I’m actually going to plagiarize the Global Partners form so they can use it as a guide and I can actually get some decent information. Fortunately, David knows someone who does microfinance and he’s going to talk with her about how they need to setup and manage this for it to work. I’m hoping that if they can come up with a good proposal, I can raise some support for them. The need is great and this would actually provide a future both for the individuals in the group and Integrity: Uganda as an organization.
This morning, I had to take my sick little computer to a workshop to see if they can fix it. Although I don’t have the verdict yet, we did surmise that it is not the laptop itself, but the power supply that is not working. Unfortunately, my Gateway has the most bizarre power connection I have ever seen (and the guys at the workshop, too). I think the best I can hope for at this point is some sort of Rube Goldberg tweak of the cord. We shall see. I have probably 30-45 minutes of battery time left until I get back to the US if they can’t fix it.
Did my long run this morning ’cause tonight I’ll be staying at the Banonya’s. Did much better than two weeks ago when I went at noon. It’s a very hilly course–10 uphills–but I managed them all until #9 at 58 minutes, so that’s not bad.
Gotta go deal with laundry.