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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rural Village Tour

 During the rural village tour, we got to see the production of cocoa, the production of coffee, a progressive farmer’s farm, and eat lunch with the village elders. It is absolutely amazing to see the farming techniques here in country.

We toured Henry's cocoa farm, looking at the planting process and then the fermenting and drying process. It was very cool to see the trees then to and see how the seeds are fermented and then how they are dried. The demand for cocoa is so high that you can make 7,000 ($2.30) shillings for one kg (2.2 lbs) of cocoa!

Henry talking about the cocoa seedling

Planting the cocoa seedlings

After we looked at Henry’s farm/cocoa process, we went to Robert’s farm. He is a progressive farmer who owns 24 acres of land, most of which he plants by himself with his wife and son. All of his farming is done by hand, and he plants many different crops (bananas, mangoes, potatoes, cabbage, maize, and pumpkins to name a few). He also practices crop rotation and uses a herbicide to keep the weeds away from his crops. Robert also had a complex water way system that drains rain water into a pool to make his own water table.

Lunch with the village elders was very interesting, we ate a traditional Ugandan meal and then had the chance to ask them questions about Uganda. The topics that we asked about were mostly about farming and the young people in the village who were leaving to go to university. It was very eye opening to listen to these mens’ views of the topics that were brought up. They asked us two questions: what are gender roles like in the US and if we like that our president has term limits.

My main question for the group is do you think that all farmers should farm like Robert? Do you think that it is sustainable?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

MUBS Graduation
The graduation was an exciting experience to say the least for many different reasons. We were able to walk over to the ceremony with the faculty of the school and the dancers and musicians. They started with awards and it was fascinating to hear the high academic awards these students had.  One person was even graduating out of the certificate program with a 5.0! After the awards The General went up to speak.  He started with many laughs and pleased the crowded but later made the us feel uncomfortable with some remarks he had.  He kept pushing for people to invest in him and seemed as if he was using this to market his new pamphlet. Shortly after, cloud came rolling in and the rain started following.  The wind picked up and the tent we were under started to lift up into the sky! We all ran for another source of cover and trekked through the mud and deep water until we found an empty lecture hall where we all met up.  It was a crazy experience but sure fun to be together for all of that.  After all we came here for an adventure.

Role of Government (Parliament)

On Thursday we went to the Ugandan Parliament building.  We started with a tour.  On the tour we found out the media has access to parliament.  Journalists are sent to parliament sessions to report news to the public, but they are made sure to be held accountable for what they write.  It was interesting to find out that an object called a "mace" must be present for a parliament session to occur.  A committee structure is used in parliament.  Each committee has a chair person and a vice chair person who leads the session.  Motions are made to speak about a subject.  I was surprised and happy to find that women are treated as equals in Uganda's parliament.  The speaker of parliament, also known as the chair person, is actually a woman.  After the tour we were able to ask a member of parliament questions we had, and after we did that we were able to sit on a parliament session.  It became obvious, while sitting in on a session, that the Ugandan parliament is very corrupt.  What do you think about the high amount of corruption in parliament?  What are some examples of corruption that you witnessed?

Small Business Uganda

Today we got to visit one of the rural villages called Kasawa and visited the home of one of the farmers there. His farm was 22 acres of maize, bananas, pumpkins, Irish and sweet potatoes, mango, and bananas. All he and his workers harvested, planted, by hand including the channels for irrigation which they dug themselves. It was very humbling and impressive to see how much is capable with simple determination and your own two hands.

Friday, May 29, 2015

We met with different members of the media at MUBS University with Drake students and MUBS students. It was very interesting to hear about the different types of media from professionals, and to see the differences between public and private media. The media is growing in Uganda and is creating a bigger impact on the people. For example before 1992 there was only one radio station and now there are 270 radio stations. We learned that radio is the biggest form of radio because they have a population of 34 mil and only about 100,000 newspapers are sold a day because of price. Overall we were able to learn about how different the media is in Uganda and how progressed we are in America.