Meeting our Ugandan Friends

12 Feb

I have just returned from an unforgettable 2 weeks in Uganda.  I was part of the Bold-Foods Fellowship run by Bold Leaders, Critical Mass Leadership and funded by the US State Department.  The trip was a four-part exchange with US, Kenyan and Ugandan leaders in urban agriculture.

In May of last year, Peris Mugo spent 5 weeks at AGC as one of the Kenyan fellows.  I had the pleasure of meeting up with Peris in Uganda last week!  Peris is an amazing extension worker with the Kenyan government and has 2500 farmers that she is responsible for disseminating information to!  Peris shared with me that the biggest lesson that she learned from her experience with AGC was the important role that children play in making change.  In Kenya and Uganda, working in the garden is seen as peasant work and is often a punishment in school (if you show up late, you are often handed a shovel and told to go work in the garden).  Peris shared with me how she was impressed with the way AGC made gardening fun.

As a result, Peris began organizing a youth program within her extension office- something that had never been done before.  Since July, Peris has led schools in planting native trees on their property and teaching the students about native fruit, how the trees will help with shade/cooling and how they will help prevent landslides in some of the more hilly areas.  Peris is a true catalyst for change and we are proud to call her our friend.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was meeting the students at the Adonai Child Development Centre (http://www.adonaicentre.org/)– a school for Uganda orphans.  AGC students have penpal buddies at the Adonai Centre and have been writing to them for the past year.

I toured the school and met with the students. I was able to share pictures of their penpals, of AGC and of our garden projects.  The students were sweet, smiling, welcoming and inspiring.  The school is set atop a hillside in Namugoga- about 1 hour outside of Kampala.  There are approximately 300 students at the school, most of who live there year round.  The school is humble, beautiful, simple and vast.  They are working to procure 16 acres to be able to grow all of their own food.  AGC will continue to grow our relationship with the school and the students and will work together to share projects and learning.

I will be setting a date soon for a story night to share my stories and pictures from the trip.  I hope to see you there!

 

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