August 17, 2010
I speak to our staff in Gulu, Uganda frequently using Skype in order to keep in touch with the problems and advances. Here is a report from today’s conversation.
The staff spent the day in the community of Rwot Obilo inspecting the Valencia orange trees we’ve distributed there and giving advice on their care. Many are three feet or more in height and bushing out nicely after a little more than a year. They were about eight or ten inches high when we distributed them. They should start to bear fruit when they are three or four years old.
Tomorrow they will go to Cet Kana to introduce ourselves. Cet Kana is a community created since the people have returned home and is a little farther away from Gulu. We have learned that communities close to town have services from more NGOs (nongovernmental organizations or charities) than those farther away. It’s easier to reach them, so they get more free stuff and may not appreciate things as much as those that are just a little more remote. Cet Kana has what we require – a little more distance from Gulu, good local community groups, good local leadership and needs we can fill.
They need efficient stoves there and the landscape is treeless except for some bananas and palms. The staff is considering having some farmers there trained in our agro-forestry project and having them grow trees for us to distribute. We need to partner with communities to leverage our small programs into larger, more easily sustainable ones.
Back in town, the staff and Steve, our Peace Corps volunteer, and preparing to move into our new house/office this coming weekend. It’s just north of downtown but still within walking distance. It has a large living/dining area for our office, a storage room and three bedrooms. Steve will live there and other visitors and I will also have a place to stay. We will have a secure place to park our vehicles and a place to store the supplies for our various projects. I’m looking forward to seeing it in person.
We are looking forward to yet our next village to work with, Leila Obara. We worked there a couple of years ago, but now they need to have their stoves replaced. When the families left the camps, the stoves didn’t travel well. When they tried to move them, the stoves fell apart because they are so fragile. They are meant to have mud and bricks around them to protect them and to make the stove into real kitchen appliances.
That’s just one day’s report. Why don’t you come visit sometime? Aid Africa has ecotours that last just a couple of weeks. You get to visit the source of the Nile, visit our Pearls of Africa Orphanage, see our projects in the villages and then visit Murchison Falls National Park where you take a boat up to the falls one day and go on a safari the next. Ask me about it. The boat ride is my favorite!
Executive Director, Aid Africa