Exchange to Change Sept 2016 - Page 11

a day in the life of an iob master student the day Interviewing a woman from Buliisa who has been the victim of land grabbing. Her husband was jailed for refusing to leave and her house was burned to chase her away. Provided insights into the tactics that are used by speculators to acquire land for which high compensation costs are projected. A sign placed by Tullow oil, in a wildlife reserve not far from Butiaba. It points to the many oil wells in the area. Of these wells, only Taitai1 struck dry. Interviewing the ‘Community Development Officer’ (CDO), which is at the center of several oilrelated infrastructure developments. Child of a fisherman in Kaiso, a landing site on the shore of Lake Albert. The village is deeply affected by oil-related infrastructure. People in Kaiso are now directly connected to Kampala through the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road, which is threatening their livelihoods. Rich businessmen come in to buy all the silver fish, making fish unaffordable for locals. It has also given rise to price wars: outsiders sell products at market prices, outcompeting local traders. An elderly lady in front of her house in Nyamasoga, Hoima District. Perfect example of a ‘Road Affected Person’: the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road (as seen in the back) is right next to her old house, and it was raised for drainage purposes. Needless to say, whenever it rains her house is flooded. The compensation she received is insufficient to build a new house in a more habitable spot. A typical day in the field 7:30 9:10 Rise and shine! Time for…ugh, oh right. Baked liver for breakfast. And matoke – cooking bananas. Topped off with spicy akashenda oil (most dishes are not extremely seasoned in this region, but when you add a few drops of this you’re more than done in the spicy department). My stomach!! Anyway, I arranged with my partners that they would be there by 8:30 and regardless of their probable delays I make sure I am ready on time. The car arrives, the driver and my local friend are apologizing, I say it’s no problem and we set off. 8:35 Waiting… I jokingly call my local partner to remind him that it is now past “the real 8:30” as we agreed upon last night. ??? The rest of the day it’s impossible to keep track of time. My local friend is making many phone calls in the local language, we stop in several seemingly random places along the way, where I have to ask him every time: “So who is this person we are meeting? Where are we?”. This is certainly a valuable exercise in improvisation. I would try to direct him, ask him if he knows of some talkative and 19:00/20:00 open-minded sub-county officials in the area for instance – but he often knew where to head way better than I did. On these types of days I would typically conduct four or five interviews and a focus group, and in between we’re in the car, bouncing on what my local friend refers to as “Museveni’s potholes”. You see, there may be infrastructure developments but they’re rather targeted efforts. So the roads are usually either flawless tarmac or battered marram. In the meantime I see many wild animals, especially baboons. We arrive back in Hoima, where I spend the rest of my evening typing out interview transcripts. If there is no “bottle bottle”, that is. Apparently drinking beer is the best way to bond in Western Uganda. My boss and the local police are among the people I’ve enjoyed a beer with. 0:00 The end of a long day. I collapse and dream of baboons (no joke!).