When I first arrived in this beautiful small country called Uganda, I was thrilled to witness its culture, tradition, the beauty of nature and to meet amazingly friendly people. Uganda is a place full of happiness in every small thing and that's what attracted me towards it. While enjoying this amazing country I came across things that amused me rather than disturbing. I saw some Ugandan Youth helping others to take soda money at every public place like railways, airport, hospital, mall etc. I came across such a guy when I visited a Telecom company called Airtel...

I needed to re-activate the SIM Card due to some strange rule in Uganda which keeps your SIM card active till the time you are in the country as a foreigner. To re-activate my old Airtel SIM I physically reached out to their office in town. I was aghast to see the long queue to get guidance to reactivate my old SIM. As I was looking around for help, a young guy approached me as if he was the Airtel employee. He was well dressed and well-mannered guy who was speaking good English.

He asked the purpose of my visit. On learning about my issue, he took me in a corner and got me a form from the counter. He also helped me to fill it as the form was quite big. He took the liberty to take my signature and pointed me to a lady to whom I have to submit my form and my work will be done without even standing in the queue. Before leaving he asked me to give him "Soda Money" if I am happy with his service. Now this "Soda Money" was a new term for me. In Uganda or I guess in most of the African countries, people refer coca-cola, Pepsi & other beverages as soda & rather than asking money, its easy to ask for "Soda Money" as soda is not too expensive & while giving, you feel you are not bribing but just giving some change for soda. His polite gesture and helping nature melt my heart and I gave him the required Soda Money, enough to buy 20 Soda Bottles.

After this, I came across many such "soda money" youths at different places in the form of security guards who are helping you with parking in a mall or a commercial establishment, shopping centre, airport and many other places where these Ugandan youth are ready to help you in the trade of soda money. This drew my attention to the huge unemployment problem in Uganda & how the unemployed youth are getting creative to earn their share of the money.

These youth want to work but due to lack of opportunities & unemployment, they are not getting the job that they deserve or desire. That is why to financially help their family and get money for further studies they chose to ask soda money in exchange for small help. This is the kind of thing that we can be proud of as these youth choose to earn by helping others rather than stealing or getting involved in some illegal business.

I think it's not 100% correct but I have no problem in supporting this "Soda Money" culture as long as it keeps the youth occupied. Have you come across a similar situation in life. Would you like to share them?

Lesson learnt: You can't sit idle saying "I don't have anything to do". If you don't have a job create one. Unemployment is not a set-back it is a choice.

If you have come across any such incidents like soda money, then please do share. I promise to share with my 9000 connections along with 11500 connection of my colleague on LinkedIn. It might help you get some followers or achieve your objective of being on LinkedIn. ' Reach out to me on my Email ID:- ravi@hogoworld.com / ravi751981@gmail.com to share your such experience. Also, let me know what do you think about "Soda Money".

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