So, this is Africa!

We’ve landed in Uganda, our home for the next two weeks. Two exciting, enriching weeks of new sounds, sights and experiences that will, I’m sure, take us all out of our comfort zones and open our eyes to opportunities beyond our normal.

For me, coming on this trip feels like a rite of passage to being part of the Kain Lawyers’ family. Working in a business that cares as much about creating opportunities for its team and our wider community as well as for our clients is very special. Being selected to be part of the contingent from Kain Lawyers for this year’s Kain Foundation Uganda Projects trip means a lot to me.

I get the feeling it means a lot to everyone on this trip, whichever of the Kain Foundation corporate partners that they represent. With representatives from Kain Lawyers (me, Jodie and Liz), Blue Sky Alternative Investments (Lachlan and Chris, with her daughter Kendall), Halpin Financial (Andrea) and Tegan Collins (who is representing the Kain Foundation and leading our trip) we have a great mix of backgrounds and perspectives.

Even in travelling from Adelaide to Entebbe, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on contrasts. I’ve seen contrasts in buildings, contrasts in food but most importantly, contrasts in attitudes.

The difference between Dubai and Entebbe international airports were stark. Dubai is modern. Entebbe isn’t. They both worked but the apparent sophistication and efficiency of Dubai seemed stressful given how busy it was. The much less efficient Entebbe was much more human and engaging.

The half-finished houses or the small buildings that are both homes and business for the locals of Entebbe and Kampala contrasts with our own homes and shops in Australia. That contrast became even more stark when we wondered around the local village near Bulesa primary school. I can only describe what we saw as a slum but even that contrasted with the houses on the next hill of the teachers and those better off in their community.

The primary school in Bulesa has highlighted the biggest contrast for me so far. From the electronic white boards, manicured lawns and fantastic facilities of the private schools of Adelaide to stone classrooms with no doors or windows and rammed earth floors in this underfunded government school.

The facilities are less than basic. That’s not surprising given the government funds the school at US$2 per pupil for the whole year. Only about a quarter of the cost of running the school. But the attitudes of the teachers and children is fantastic. They make do with what they have. They were happy and grateful just for our company and they showed us hospitality with food that was fresh, unprocessed and wholesome (again a contrast to much of what we eat at home)!

So, in a couple of short days I’ve seen many contrasts from what we take for granted at home. But, this is Africa and I’m excited to be here.

Written by Gerry Cawson, Kain Lawyers