Today we went on the rural visit to the village of Kaswo. This day has been by far my favorite day so far. Our group split up into three smaller groups and each went to a different farm. I had the honor of going to John Guweddeko’s farm in Kitegula where we had a wonderful tour of his 8 acres of land which is divided amongst 3 separate plots of land in different locations.
Mr. Guweddeko farms both food and cash crops. His food crops include: matooke (bananas), cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, maize, sorghum, beans, and ground nuts. What surprised me the most, was that all his food crops go to feeding his family and friends. One of the major difference between families in the US these days and the families in the villages of Uganda is that in the villages your family is considered to be all your relatives which can include anyone from grandchildren, aunts, cousins and everyone in between, not to mention that it is not uncommon for a family to have 10 children. Where in the US the family you provide for is normally the Mother and Father and their children, and most families in the US typically only have 2 or 3 children.
Where Mr. Guweddeko earns his profit from is his cash crops, which include cocoa, pineapple, and his coffee nursery. I was really amazed by the coffee nursery and all the hard work that goes into the process of planting the 50,000 seedlings that he cares for until it is time to sell them off to other farmers. It is very inspiring all the hard work and determination the villagers have and the pride they have in their land.
Another matter that surprised me was when Mr. Guwededdeko mentioned that Gobal Warming has caused a noticeable difference to his farming. He mentioned that they now experience longer dry seasons and destructive storms and hail when the rain does come. He said that over 10 years ago they were able to make definitive production plans based on the genuine weather forecasts that enabled them to plant in time, and now they are unable to adjust to the ever changing weather and climate. He also mentioned the problem of new crop diseases that sometimes can be so bad that they result in total loss, and he is unsure whether this problem could be linked to the first or not.
My favorite part of the day was when we went back down into the village to have dinner and while we were waiting the grandchild of the farmers we toured with performed for us and it was truly heartwarming to see their smiling faces. Then when we toured the village before leaving we had a swarm of small children following us and then they later chased after the bus as we drove off. I was sad to leave. It was a great day in rural Uganda.
I know we have all experienced some form of culture shock while we’ve been here in Uganda and maybe more during the rural visit as suppose to the time spent in the more modernized area of Kampala. So my question is what resemblance of home have you seen (particularly during the rural visit)? And what will you miss most once you return home?