If you live in rural Uganda and or any other Sub Saharan Country for that matter chances are that the road through your village will look like the one in Kikube, unless of course your village is on a main road to somewhere such as a big city or a tourist attraction
Minor roads leading off the main roads are not sealed (murram) and generally speaking are OK during the dry weather bar the dust that passing traffic generates and if well maintained they serve the villages well. Driving on these murram roads requires exceptional skills!
The main roads those leading to large towns and cities are usually tarmac and are part of most African countries strategy to improve trade. Goods in Uganda are mostly transported by road and I can imagine a huge chunk of the country’s infrastructure budget is spent on these major roads. These roads are almost always paid for by donor agencies/AID and chances are that this is only benefit that some folk on the ground will experience – A NICE ROAD THROUGH THE VILLAGE!
It is easy to be cynical about the idea of giving the poor a nice road when they have nothing to eat but imagine if you will a woman in labour trying to get to a hospital that is 2 hours away on a poor or no road at all! In fact a few days ago I came across a man at a networking event who was doing some research on this issue. He is convinced that African women’s reproductive health is impacted by the quality of roads in Africa
But for the folk of Ruhanga SW Uganda (see photo above), a nice road through their village has mixed blessings so to say. Ruhanga is on the main road to Kabale, Congo, Rwanda and a major tourist attraction- MOUNTAIN GORILLAS. Having this nice roads means that folk can get to hospital easily and can take advantage of passing trade but the nice road has become a death trap and only a few weeks ago we lost Witness a 4 year old in a car accident.
The irony of this situation is a couple of years ago there were some deep potholes in the road which forced drivers to slow down and in turn we had fewer accidents in the village.
We also learned that Uganda’s Minister of works has no intention of putting in any form of traffic calming measures. I am not quite sure what if anything the community can do about this whole situation as I know for a fact that Witness’ death is not the first nor will it be the last and judging from the email we got from the secretary of the Community Based Organisation there is nothing they can do and expect answers or a solution from us.
He said- I am sure the news of Witness’ death has reached you by now and I am really not sure what you are going to do to ensure the safety of very young children a very busy high way with undisciplined drivers of small and heavy trucks
Your thoughts please!