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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thank you Dean Sserwanga!

Today was a very full day.  After leaving for breakfast at 7:45 we were honored to meet with Patrick Bitature, widely considered to be the most successful entrepreneur in Uganda.  In the afternoon we visited two shrines in Namugongo honoring the Ugandan Martyrs who were executed because of their religious beliefs.  Posts for both of those events will be coming tomorrow.  Following the shrines, the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Arthur Sserwanga, hosted us at his family's farm.  The farm is on the edge of Kampala and is starting to be overtaken by urban sprawl.  Dean Sserwanga explained the role of the family homestead in Ugandan society and gave us a tour of his family's dairy operation.  His explanations provided a number of excellent cultural lessons for all of us.  Starting from his father's home, we walked through the acreage to the other side of the farm to his home which he recently finished building. Once there we were greeted by his family and had for a wonderful dinner prepared by his wife and her sisters.   Following dinner a few students started playing a game based upon everyone's name.  If you made a mistake the group got to choose a task for you to perform - such as dancing or singing a song.  Before long almost all 31 Drake and MUBS students we playing as well as the Dean, his children, and the Drake professors.  The game then changed to an updated version of musical chairs, described by the students as "train wreck".  Before we knew it, it was about 10:30 pm and we decided to call it a night and return home (tomorrow starts even earlier)  Thank you Dean Ssserwanga for a wonderful and fun evening!  Students -- please comment on what you learned from his talk and also your favorite moments from the games of the evening. 


  1. The thing I found most interesting from the dean's talk was about how land ownership has changed in the past 100 years. I find the idea of African homesteads interesting and historically significant. I think it is both a good and bad thing that Uganda is become more industrialized because even though it helps the country advance, it also takes away some of their cultural traditions. The idea of land close to Kampala growing more and more expensive as time passes is very familiar with me as I have seen it throughout my lifetime living in the suburbs of Chicago. My two most favorite moments by far (and I'm sure everyone else agrees) are Dr. Root falling on the floor and people spelling their names with their butts (don't ask!).

  2. I enjoyed that night so much! I really enjoyed listening to Dean Ssserwanga talk about his farm and what it has to offer. The thing I found most interesting was that there is only 1 bull on his farm for the 20 cows that he owns. It was very interesting to see a smaller farm compared to the larger farms found in America. I really enjoyed the games we played as well. It was cool to see how the game grew from only a few people playing to everyone! The name game really helped me to learn all of the MUBS students names and remember them.

  3. I found it interesting that Dean Sserwanga built his whole house himself (the planning as well as the little do it yourself projects). I can't believe he learned how to do everything through Google and YouTube videos! As for the games we played, I thought it was very fun. At first I played 'tip' with the kids which is the same thing as 'tag' in America which was very exhausting. I also enjoyed playing the name game because of the dancing punishments (especially Dr. Root and Dr. Bishop) and it was funny watching people push and fall over for a chair during train wreck.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed our night at the Dean's home and I found it interesting when he talked about the structure of the African family and their tendency to stay close to home. I always wondered what the reasoning behind that was and now I feel like I understand it a little bit better. In my opinion, the games we played really helped us to bond as a whole group. I thought it was funny how Jesca was really enforcing the punishments during the name game. The various punishments of course were also really entertaining!

  5. THe night was a blast! i loved teaching the children how to play american hand games and having them teach us games. IT was a great bonding experience. I found it interesting that families live around each other. I don't know if i could do that!

  6. This night was awesome. It was one of my favorites so far. The farm was very interesting to me because a lot of my mom's side of the family lives on a farm. I have grown up visiting similar farms as the one we visited so it was interesting to see the small differences in techniques and technology, but also compare a lot of the major similarities between the farms in Uganda and the ones in America.
    I loved being at his house as well. It was very interesting comparing this amazing house to the small houses we usually see on the streets. I thought it was great how outgoing everyone became and how close we all got from that night (professors, Drake students, and MUBS students). I agree with everyone about my favorite part being the teachers playing the games with us, Jesca's idea of spelling our names with our butts, and how intense she was about the rules. Edwin and the other children were adorable with their Michael Jackson dances and how much they laughed. It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves so much.

  7. Wow! I am "Dr. Root" 's sister, one of the many who follows your blog from the US. I would have loved to see him fall while playing musical chairs, or whatever the case may have been! It sounds like a wonderful time was had by all! What a nice opportunity to bond with each other, and at the home of a respected host to boot!

    Some questions I have for anyone (since I am Dr. Root's sister, I need to ask about a million questions!):
    - It sounds like this was a wonderful event and a valuable evening for all. What is the best scheduling of this event for future trips?
    - What is the context for Dr. Ssserwanga's farm? Is his considered a large or small farm in Kampala? What is its role in the community there? Are there lots of small farms in the area?
    - What happens to his product(s) once they are delivered (the supply chain, if you will)? To whom does he deliver his product (s)?
    - Do the farms in Kampala primarily sustain the farming families or do they feed the masses?
    - What do the farmers do to differentiate their products? or what could they do?

  8. The night at Dean Sserwanga's home and farm is one that I will always remember! While we learned many interesting things about farming and the family homestead, my favorite part of the night was watching the relationships between the MUBS and Drake students form. Even though it was only the second day we were here, we were all sitting around laughing and having a good time like we had known each other for a very long time.

    Like many other people have said, the multiple falls during the game were my favorite parts of the night! Thankfully no one was hurt :)

  9. I enjoyed the night at Dean Sserwanga's house. I found his methods for farming very interesting. It is clear that he has a passion for dairy farming and takes care of his animals! I was surprised that he only keeps one bull for 20 dairy cows. Also, I thought it was cool how he was keeping the rain water for the cows. My favorite part of the day was when we went to his house, which was beautiful! After eating we started to play games. The games were really fun and I feel like they brought the group together. There are several things from that night, that I will never forget!