A U.S. tourist and her tour guide were kidnapped at gunpoint in Uganda earlier this month. They were taken in the southwestern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

The woman’s ransom was set at $500,000. The two were freed five days later, and eight suspects have been arrested. 

This sounds scary, especially because Emporia State sends a group of students to Uganda each summer. I understand the panic. As a student going on the trip, I have received a lot of questions and concern for my safety. 

While I feel loved and cared for, but I am also quite disappointed. 

It seems as though we haven’t done our research. This is the first time something like this has happened in Uganda since the ‘90s. 

That is nearly 30 years since an incident like this has occurred. This woman was not travelling with a trusted companion and was not following the clear rules set in place by the park. ESU students will not be in this area of Uganda, will always be in groups and with trusted Ugandans. Most people there wish to keep tourists safe in order to keep their country in good standing. 

What upsets me the most is that people get kidnapped, sex trafficked, murdered, etc. every day in the United States, yet nobody worries about me walking to class every day. Nobody tries to stop me from going to Kansas City or Lawrence for the weekend. 

So many people see places outside of the U.S. as dangerous and deadly, but isn’t the U.S. one of the most dangerous countries in the world? Sure, we aren’t in a civil war, but U.S. citizens are dying of starvation, murder, poverty, lack of accessible healthcare, etc. 

Emporia has had two reported shootings and a gun was found in a student’s dorm all since the beginning of the month. 

The U.S. isn’t safe. 

People fear what they do not know. I understand that, but Uganda is not a place to be afraid of. If you live your whole life in fear of what could happen, you’ll never experience true adventure. 

Stop worrying about those of us who are daring enough to experience cultures unlike our own and start worrying about the future of this so-called “sanctuary.” 

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