I can blame this wild hair on expressive and modern dance revolutionary, Isadora Duncan. She's the one who said, "What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print." Perhaps some of the blame goes to Break Away. If they would have left that damn Benjamin Franklin beer quote on the ABCs' t-shirts back in 2001, Isadora's quote might never have come to my mind.
Ok, so the plight of Ugandan school teachers has been getting a lot of press lately. With the soaring cost of living, they are finding it hard to live on the meagre monthly pittance they receive, some as low as 273,000 Uganda shillings (approximately $98 US). Being an educator myself, and having worked closely with primary schools in Uganda as a Peace Corps Volunteer (2002-2005), the cause of Uganda's school teachers is near and dear to my heart. Sadly, even as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in rural Hoima more than 9 years ago, I received about 100,000 shillings more per month than what teachers are earning today. Even more sadly, inflation in Uganda is a bit OOC these days and is currently around 21.4 percent. Ouch.
I left volunteer life over six years ago, got me a bit more education and experience and now have a pretty good position at an amazing international school in Kampala. I'm not going to specifically reveal my current income status, but I will indicate that it is well over 20 times that of a teacher in a government funded UPE school in Uganda.
So here's the challenge: live on 300,000 Uganda shillings in Kampala during the month of September. Why? I want to better understand what I read about in the Monitor, what the teachers are going through.
I'm not so naive that I believe it will be the same thing. There's no way. My rent (already paid through November) is more than triple the school teacher's monthly salary. I refuse to un-employ my housekeeper just because Isadora Duncan inspires an experiential learning experiment, and there is no way I could pay her on 300,000k if that's what I really earned, so her salary is not included in that. However, all utility bills, food, transportation and entertainment will be.
My goal is to blog each day about my experience and give a breakdown of my expenses.
Are you ready?
I'm not sure if I am.
First a month a fasting, now a month on 300k. October better be decadent.