Where an uncorrupt official is big news
Colleen Schneider of Winnipeg heard Rick's interview with Mohamed Ahmed Noor, the mayor of Mogadishu, on the July 7 Dispatches program, and recalled this story of her own.
I was so impressed by the bravery of Mohamed Noor in taking on the most dangerous city in the world and addressing its overwhelming problems head on. This story made me think of a fellow that we encountered in a tiny customs/border office on the Zaire/Uganda border 17 years ago. We had entered Zaire through Burundi and had experienced the most conspicuous corruption I had ever witnessed. During our short time in Zaire, we had been shaken down by numerous young soldiers who had set up their own posts to get money and had our passports taken away during a domestic boat trip on Lake Kivu from Bukavu to Goma. So, when the time had come to leave, we braced ourselves for more of the same.
We entered a small wooden building that was organized, clean, and efficiently run by an older gentlemen dressed in a suit. We pulled out our passports (with our wallets at the ready) and presented them to a fellow behind a table Our passports were stamped and we were bid adieu. My husband and I were flabbergasted. Here in the middle of the jungle (literally) was the most well-run government office in all of Zaire - thanks to this man. He had obviously made a very conscious decision to run a corruption-free border office. This was another example of bravery in a corrupt and disorganized state. It really brought home the idea that one person really can make a difference, as cliche as it sounds.
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