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?

8 comments:

  1. I don't think I have ever met a more humble man. It was truly an honor listening to him speak about his agricultural farm. I always love to talk with others about differences in cultures, and the talk that took place after lunch definitely was one for the books. It was interesting to hear the types of questions we were asked about out culture. The questions about term limits and gender roles were especially interesting, making me dig deeper into my ideas and arguments for them. This is definitely a day I will remember.

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  2. This has been my favorite day so far. It was great to see such hard working people being successful in their farming. I also felt very fortunate after seeing the conditions these people live in. Their toilets were literally holes in the ground. These type of conditions are some of the reasons why many young people are choosing to move to the city. I see this as a big problem, because agriculture is needed greatly by Uganda. Agriculture is a HUGE part of Uganda's economy, and it is important to make youth understand this.

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  3. The trip to the Rural village was a really great experience, it was nice to get out of the bustling city of Kampala and get to visit the smaller villages of Uganda that make it the beautiful and inviting place it is. My favorite part of the day was getting to try some of the delicious freshly picked mango, and see the fascinating process Ugandan farmers have in cultivating cocoa beans. I felt so honored to be able to speak to the elders of the village and get to know and understand a little better, life from their perspective.

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  4. This is always one of my favorite days of the seminar. Our partners in the rural village provide such a wonderful perspective on life and happiness to all of us. They are amazing hosts each year and incredible teachers.

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  5. The rural visit was one of my favorite days so far. It was great learning all about different processes of agriculture business. Something that stuck out to me during this day was the conversation we had with the elders of the rural village. The elders generation is around the same as our grandparents and we found a lot of similarities between the views they hold on women. The elders believed that the woman should stay in the home to cook, clean, and take care of the man when he comes home from work. This is very much the same ideals that our grandparents hold and it was great to see our generation to stick up for themselves and their values.

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  6. This experience was definitely one of my favorites, I loved being able to talk to the village elders and also getting to hear Robert's story. I don't think I have ever gone to a place and talked to people who have opened my eyes to another part of the world or humbled me near as much as those that we got to meet on this day.

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  7. It was amazing to see how hard the farmers in the rural village work. Farmers like Robert are so humble even though they do tremendous amounts of work. The meeting with the elders was so interesting and gave me a lot to think about. It really highlighted unique aspects of Ugandan culture for me. Because my project is about gender roles in Uganda, I thought the discussion with the elders was very informative. They view women very similarly as our society did in earlier generations. A woman in rural Uganda is under the care of her parents until she gets married off, usually at a fairly young age. The woman not only cares for the home and provides meals, she also cares for the children and provides an extra hand either on the farm or at the market. A woman still cannot inherit land and although the 1995 constitution grants women the right to own land, social norms and values tend to keep women from being independent. After learning about the affirmative action in parliament that was meant to provide a greater representation of women, little has been done to actually change the patriarchal society they live in.

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  8. The one thing that I would like to say about the cocoa farms, is just praise for not using child labor. Many of the countries that export chocolate, primarily to companies like Nestle and Hershey (not to point any fingers), use child labor and in high percentages with poor working conditions. It's great to see the humanity in the cocoa farms here in Uganda compared to those of the Ivory Coast.
    In addition to this, the people were so want and welcoming. I was surprised to meet so many more men than women, but the men were so nice, welcoming, and full of information. I definitely learned a lot about small scale farming in Uganda, and more so about the importance of agriculture. I am excited to see youth get in to agriculture, as far as the few who see the value in what the market will become.

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