KAMPALA, UGANDA - This morning when I was reading the New Vision I was shocked to learn that my home country, USA, had put out a travel advisory regarding Uganda.
Thankfully, Stephen Asiimwe, of the Uganda Tourism Board and others stepped forward to reject the negative advisory and reassure travelers not only of Uganda’s safety but also report about reasons why Uganda is the best travel destination.
It is all good for the head of UTB to speak out on this critical matter, but let’s be frank, he is paid to promote Uganda. Therefore, I thought it was important that people around the globe also get to hear the perspective of an American living in Uganda.
I have lived in Uganda for the last seven years. I am married to a Uganda (Didan Atukunda) and we have three children. We operate Loving Hearts Uganda and have built and run a school for orphan and needy children as well as Bunyonyi View, a hotel on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi.
In addition, we operate as a tour and travel company and sell fair trade crafts. I would not have invested so much money, time, or effort in Uganda and I definitely would not have my children living in Uganda, if I had the slightest inclination that Uganda was not a safe place.
First, I would like to note, that the advisory was put in place not because of a recent event but because of a threat. I would like to ask the American government if they also planning on advising people not to travel to Canada? It is very well known that this year Canada has been attacked by Isis and that Isis leaders have made public threats and have demanded more attacks on Canada.
I would like to ask the American government why it is biased in its advisories. If Canada has not been issued an advisory, then why has Uganda? Is it political? Is it racist? Or, is your response, just that it is complicated? Dear President Obama, please feel free to write back to me and enlighten the world.
The USA has not only received its own terrorist threats from terrorists groups abroad but that American citizens themselves have caused acts of terror.
For example, Since I have lived in Uganda there has been approximately a total of 126 school shootings on American soil. Those shootings have resulted in around 148 injuries and 174 deaths. Are American’s telling their parents not to send their children to primary school or University?
What about the public shootings in movie theaters and malls that are terrorizing America? It seems to me that perhaps Uganda should be the one putting out a travel advisory telling Ugandan’s to be careful when travelling to USA and definitely advise them against moving and putting their children in school there.
Or, perhaps we should all be grown-ups about this matter, and realize as it was stated that this is a universal problem. And where there are problems we should look for solutions.
The solution to rampart fears and acts of radical violence is always love. I truly believe that the lives of suicide bombers and school shooters could have been changed if as children they were able to experience the love of God manifest through the love of people.
So instead of acting out of fear, let us all join hand in hand and heart in heart to battle and fight as strong warriors. Let our weapons be faith, love, peace. Let our defense be prayer and unity.
Together, We can change the world!
I would like to put out my own American advisory: Everybody should travel to Uganda! Uganda is a wonderful travel destination as it is one of the only places in the world you can come face to face with the gentle giant of the rainforest: the mountain gorilla.
In addition Uganda is known for its powerful waters, expansive savannahs teaming with life, chimp and other primate trekking, the Ruwenzori Mountains (which are known as the Alps of Africa) and the source of the Nile.
Everyone should come to Uganda to receive a lot of love as Uganda is known for the friendliest people. Everybody should come to Uganda and give a lot of love.
Take a little time not only to tour but volunteer with a community organization and together we will make sure the children today become the leaders of tomorrow. Let’s give the children all the love they need and see them grow to be sharp shooters, shooting for the stars, shooting for dreams of peace and love to be realized across the globe!
The writer is an American investor in Uganda