Update June 4, 2012: Travel report
Hey there! I want to start with a bad thing – my days are almost counted… Two month just flew away so quickly. But luckily there were (and still are) full of new experiences! I promised to tell you about my trip to Tanzania and here we go. It wasn’t just a travel since we had a good occasion to Arusha, northern Tanzania. We, because it was not just me to go but also my host-mother Donanta and my brother Francis – packing hour little things to attend our brother Magambo’s graduation ceremony. He just finished his studies in with a degree in Philosophy and a diploma in and Religious Studies and Philosophy from the Catholic University of East Africa! We started from Nakuusi on Friday morning heading to Entebbe to spent two days with Sylvia. On Monday we took the Kampala coach bus straight from Kampala to Arusha – a 20h bus ride. Busdrivers in East Africa a reckless and very speedy, but luckily we arrived safely and more or less comfortable. Good thing of the Kampala Coach busses are the space, which is more than sufficient even for a 2m tall like me. On the opposite our back suffered from the long journey – I think that is the price we had to pay 😉 Previously i said that the bus is supposed to go straight to Arusha, right? At least that is what is advertised, but that doesn’t stop the bus from stopping several times to drop off and pick up passengers in Jinja and Nairobi, Kenya. We arrived in Nairobi around 4am in the morning and had a 3 hours stay until we departed in a new and also smaller bus to Arusha. I could walk a bit through quiet and sleeping Nairobi, not to far though, since I was not told when the bus leaves. The only information I got was that the bus leaves very soon – which as I stated before meant a 3h stay in the end. Arusha itself is a tourist spot for all the people visiting Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meron, etc. Many Bazungu (white people) and also Masai the tribe which lives in the mountains of nothern Tanzania and southern Kenya.
Sorry I’ve to go now, I continue later on. 😉
Introduction in my projects
Alright after my first days of orientation my projects with KYEMPAPU began. Sylvia, the project director and founder of KYEMPAPU, set up a packed program for my two-month stay as a volunteer. I will shortly introduce the main projects I have been working on so far.
UPE – Universal Primary Education
UPE is the abbreviation for the public primary school system in Uganda. In the rural area of Bukomansimbi where most of the citizens are peasants most of the primary schools are such public UPE schools. The government praises that children can go to these schools for free but governmental support is so little that schools are struggling in many ways. Teacher get a little salary of only $80 USD monthly so that most of them run their own little farm besides to provide food for their families. Teacher’s motivation for teaching students is so little that they are absent from classes to work on their fields. Sometimes even the headteacher comes to his schools once a week. Of course this has negative influences on the pupil’s educational performance. The progress is very little, the attendance rate is poor and the drop out rate in higher classes especially for boys is very high since they are told to help on the parent’s farm. I found one girl from p1 – Primary class 1 – who was not able to count up to 10.
From what I have seen during the visits of about 25 schools in the district is that the motivation of the headteacher is a key figure of the performance of the entire school including both teacher and students. There are some good headteachers who are willing to work hard under these challenging conditions of little governmental support, poor school facilities and insufficient study materials. These headteachers are strict with the attendance of their staff and are encouraged to look for non-governmental support such as provided from organizations like KYEMPAPU. Moreover, these schools show better results in the national examinations, having more high graded graduates in all classes. Unfortunately this is not general for UPE schools. Compared to that private schools, which are mostly run by religious institutions and more frequent in the urban area, have luxurious studying conditions with better educated teachers, up-to-date study materials and modern facilities.
Another problem is the food supply of the pupils during the school day. UPE schools normally start at 8 am in the morning up to 4.30pm in the afternoon. Public funding is too little to cover costs for breakfast or lunch. Most schools try to setup some private funding to provide at least porridge for lunch for the pupils. The costs for the lunch of one pupil for one term (3 month) is 10.000 USH – $4 USD – covering for maize, the cook, firewood and clean water but many families do not pay this little money. Either because they can not afford or because in their opinion public education is supposed to be for free, which also should include lunch. So during lunch time only part of the pupils is eligible to a pot of porridge, whereas many others have to starve. Furthermore some children are told by their families not to eat their lunch in school but bring it home for the parents or what ever.
I hope that you can get a first glance of the educational situation through my report. Even if there are many pupils and even families in need one can easily help one of them.
KYEMPAPU just recently bought a piece of land in Kirinda Village to built up a role model farm for up-to-date farming, including both agriculture and animal farming. Since my dad is a farmer and has a piggery, I can share some knowledge of how farming is done in Germany today. But at first I needed to see/know how the current situtation in the village is, so that Francis took me to the farmers around and we visited their piggery and poultry facilities as well as the coffee, matoke, maize, etc plantations.
In terms of animal farming several issues occur. Only very few farmers have stables for the animals and mostly they live outside. Pigs and goats are tied with a rope on trees and stones, to prevent them from running away. As a result the rope cuts into the flesh of the leg, which looks really harmful. Moreover, the tries suffer from digging pigs. Feeding is the second problem. The food is lacking of energy-rich and protein containing food. The normal food is based on maize grain and green leaves. Insufficient food supply leads to slow growth and low weight.
From the agricultural point of view Uganda is indeed the pearl of Africa. My dad would desire such a rich soil for his fields ;). But farmers leave much potential of the prolific conditions unused. Instead they mix the crops in one field. Groundnuts, beans, maize, matoke, casava plants are all mixed on one field. Plants grow low and have only low yields.
With the role model farm KYEMPAPU wants to teach farmers about how to improve the farming. Little fields of different crops are prepared to show them how it could look like.
I try to upload some pics in the next days so that you can get in impression of the issues and the farm.
Uganda, aka the Pearl of Africa, is a East African country located at the Victoria lake. The climate varies with the region, but in my region of central Uganda it is mostly tropical. Or at least it used to be, since the climate change during the past years, the conditions of dry and wet seasons as well as the amount of rainfall changed heavily. One important driver of the climate change is the deforestation of Uganda. People, especially farmers, cut down forests, to enlarge their agricultural plantations. Mostly for the cultivation of Coffee which is the major cash crops of Uganda.
We all know what the negative influences of deforestation are. Still, nowadays most farmers neglect that by doing so their own harvest output is cut down! Mostly because of the change of the wet and dry seasons long draught periods occur. Draught can lead to a full loss of one harvest and drives entire families into poverty.Only few farmers can afford draught-resistant coffee breeds.
KYEMPAPU runs a project to inform the farmers about the issue of climate change, the effects of deforestation, and possible contributions for preventions of the farmers. In a role model projects trees were planted on selected sites. Trees can contribute in many ways for the people. They spend shade for other plans to protect them against the sun and thereby draught in the dry season. Second, adult trees catch clouds in the hilly landscape of Uganda and support the rainfall. And last but not least, free food through fruit trees such as Papaya, Mango or Jack fruit-trees.
We planted about 100 trees, including fruit trees and fast and high growing trees, on school grounds and other locations. The participating primary school teachers set up a school projects. Not only to take care for the young trees but also so teach the children about the necessity of trees.
Update May 9, 2012: Jjumba in Uganda!
Alright, it’s time for the 2nd update. I know this is quite late after 4 weeks, but i’m having really a busy time here.
First, I owe you an explanation how I got my name Jjumba. Francis (my host dad) and Donanta (hostmom) announced a small welcome party for me on Friday after my arrival. I thought about some drinks and a good dinner with the family, but it turned out to be a big event! Not only the family was present, but also friends, neighbors were invited. Moreover, Sylvia with her baby daughter Abigail and Jude Tamale came all the way from Entebbe!
The welcome party was also a traditional initiation into the family and the family clan. For this initiation a big BBQ with one of the goats of the farm were set up. I was introduced to all the present guests, when suddenly I was told to pick a piece of paper from a basket and read out what was written on it. There was a single word and at this time I had no clue what this was all about:
As I shouted this name out loudly a big laughter began and it was Tamale who finally explained that from this time on Jjumba was my clan name. I asked what kind of clan he was talking about and then it became clear that I was now a member of the Monkey clan and the name Jjumba was once the King of the Monkey clan.
To be honest, I felt honoured! Jjumba sounded nice! Next I was taught how to introduce my self with my new name and clan in the local language Luganda. And it sounds like this: Mze Martin Jjumba, nedira Chima. which is something like: I’m Martin Jjumba, from the monkey clan. I must have pronounced something wrong or it was just funny to hear Luganda from a Muzungu that they started laughing again. So this is how I got my name Jjumba, but the story goes on!
It was a few minutes later, when I just finished another skewer of lamb meat when my host family handed me a banana leaf-folded present. I was curious what to come next and as I finished unfolding a big white robe appeared. I had seen this some times in the village before, worn by men mostly in the evening. And I was right, it was a Kanzu. The traditional ceremonial dress for men with beautiful adornments on the front this Kanzu is worn together with a Blazer. Of course I couldn’t resist and tried it instantly and it fit perfectly! On one of the pictures you can roughly see the outfit!
Wow, this was doubtless an amazing day. I got my name Jjumba, became member of the monkey clan and, moreover, was dressed in traditional clothes.
As I am writting this I have to mention that right now I’m sitting in Arusha, northern Tanzania, in a Missionary. How I got here and what I’m doing here is another story, so stay tuned for the next posts.
April 27, 2012
Although my in Uganda is already almost 3 weeks ago, I want to start from the beginning in this Blog.
I’ve not much time left on my counter in the internet cafe, so here the basic facts.
It was a really warm welcome from Sylvia, her daughter Abigail and her Dad Francis at the Airport in Entebbe. After spending the first night at Sylvias place in the suburbs of Entebbe, Francis and me took a minibus to his place. Francis and his familiy are also my host during my stay. The location is aprox. 2h bus ride on dirtroad into the outskirts of Bukomansimbi discrict. To be exactly it is the sub-county Kitanda and the village is called Nakusi. Francis has a coffee farm there, and the new KYEMPAPU site is just 200m away.
Alright, time is over now, this is to be continued.
Especially pictures are coming soon!
All the best,
ps. from now on you can also call me Jjumba which is my traditional name. Where I got this from and which clan I belong to now, I will explain later.
April 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm
Sounds like a great experience so far!
June 1, 2012 at 7:02 am
thanks for the good work.
June 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm
June 12, 2012 at 8:56 am
You have really nice projects . I wish i could lay a block on your house