Fortunate, insignificant, helplessness, inspired, enriched, hopeful…
At the start of the week mentally I couldn’t get past the enormity of the challenges and a sense of helplessness. Where do you start with tackling the many issues faced? Having now witnessed the work of multiple charity projects, each seemingly insignificant given the enormity of situation, however most significant for those communities involved, it is now clear to me that these projects make a real difference to the lives and prospects of the communities involved.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the challenges in Uganda be solved in one, but they can be community by community.
After a long drive from Seeta, crossing over the equator, today we visited the Junior Land Care project at Kyassonko Primary School in Masaka with Matthias who is the district project manager for Ugandan Land Care Network. Junior Land Care provides support to schools to extend their teachings beyond numeracy and literacy to include sustainable farming practices. While academia is important, the vast majority of students will only ever work on their family farms which is mostly subsistence farming, and so this extension of skills to take care of the land and realise improved farming outcomes provides practical and tangible benefits for students who then transfer these skills to their families.
The Kyassonko Primary School Junior Land Care program has:
* Built a greenhouse propagating a range a fruit trees for both the school and local families helping with re-forestation while providing a valuable source of food and income for the community
* Built pig enclosures to teach children about improved animal husbandry techniques and fertilisation of crops which in Australia we would just consider standard practice
* Learned about water harvesting building tanks and installing gutters which are then used for drinking and irrigation, a simple concept we take for granted but completely foreign in regional Uganda communities
All of this culminates in a self-sustaining model which is not dependent on ongoing funding while the agricultural program provides the means for the school to offer lunch for students who are sent to school without any food. That really puts everything in to context!
Our time at Kyassonko Primary School finished in much the same way as it started, with traditional singing and dancing like you have never seen before, including some very interesting participation from the Kain Foundation team. It’s hard to really comprehend the daily challenges faced by the people of Uganda. Yet in the face of adversity people are smiling, welcoming and grateful for what they have, and what they don’t have.
Ryan Ramsey (aka Brucey)