I have been back in Uganda for some time now and it really feels like I’ve never been away! I have remembered most of the local language I knew and am trying hard to learn more. Chris, who looks after the house and does our cooking, is teaching me – luckily he is very patient and seems to enjoy laughing at me as I try to pronounce some of the most difficult words I’ve ever heard. It makes French at school seem easy now!
The work on the farm at Kagando Rural Development Centre (KARUDEC) has continued where it left off in July. I’m very pleased to see the work that we started has carried on and there are some great positives, but there is still much room for improvement. What’s been great to see is the enthusiasm from the staff and just how happy they were to welcome me back. The farm has improved a lot in the last six months and together with the staff we have big plans of how it will develop even further. Over the next few weeks we will be building a silage pit, completing the work on the irrigation system and buying a silage machine enabling us to make better feed for the cows.
The builders led by Zallemon and Joseph were very pleased to see me back and hear that there was plenty of work to be done. I’ve developed a great friendship with the builders and we now work together very well as a team. I was sad to find that they had found very little work while I was away, but this is unfortunately the reality of working in the area. The people are very poor and building work is hard to get.
What’s encouraging is how Agri Evolve have helped the builders and the speech they made at the end of my time here in July has stuck with me. They explained how the work I gave them for two months had meant they had earned enough money to pay their children’s school fees for the year, as well as how proud they were of the work they had done and how they had enjoyed working with me. They are such hard workers and to work for the equivalent of £2 a day (which is regarded as a good wage here) doing hard manual work seems unthinkable, but they always have a smile on their faces and very rarely complain. They are never late and often work well into evening hours.
I hope to work with them for a long time and that they will be working with Agri Evolve on many more projects. It shows that by investing in farmers and their projects we are not only helping farmers, but also the local communities. I am seeing how investment provides continuous work for people such as builders, hardware/building suppliers, carpenters and labourers who would otherwise be sat on the street doing nothing.
I am well known in the community and I still love hearing the cries of ‘Jon!’ from children as we travel around. I am building great friendships with many people and I feel very much at home here. I am seeing that Agri Evolve is having a positive impact here and that people are ready to work with us to change their lives for the better.