This week the Field of Hope team has been busy busy busy with outreach trainings to the surrounding communities of Lira. On Thursday we went to Otino Waa, a local children’s village, to speak to farmers about agriscience practices. At the start of our meetings, we always begin with prayer, followed by personal introductions, which then segways into the training. On this day in particular, Nicholas (FOH staff) came over to Heather (the other fellow) and I, saying “I need you two to come up with a ten to fifteen minute speech to give these women before we start.” I froze. What?! I didn’t prepare for this!
Interest approaches are commonly used at Field of Hope’s trainings to capture the participants attention and keep them engaged in the lessons. At one of the recent outreach trainings, the interest approach involved sticks. Geoffrey, our trainer had two volunteers come up to the front to participate in a demonstration. One participant received one stick while the other received a handful of sticks. Each person was instructed to try to break the sticks in half.
After arriving in Uganda and spending the night in Kampala, Nicholas (FOH staff) and Sam (two Sam’s woo!) drove me up to Lira. A good seven-hour trek that resulted in lots of laughter, agriculture talk, dreaming, singing, and even some sleeping. Throughout the drive we stopped for lunch, bought roasted sweet plantain from the market, and interrupted a group of baboons crossing the street. One even jumped up in our window! Thanking the Lord that it didn’t jump in mine because that probably would’ve ended with a wild reaction. As if all those experiences weren’t enough, there was quite the VIEW too.
My first two weeks in the Pearl of Africa have been exciting, challenging, but most of all relaxing. It is no secret that flying from the U.S. to Uganda would mean adjusting to a new time zone: 8 hours ahead of my normal schedule to be exact. However, the biggest time change I have experienced here is the Ugandan sense of time. In the U.S., Americans are known for following strict timelines and punctuality is of utmost importance. In Uganda, time is viewed a little differently. Instead of rushing to get places and stressing about time, we enjoy every second of the day.
It was the sweaty seventh mile of the day and I couldn’t have been happier to see a chair with a back and two arm rests waiting for me. I picked up my feet a little faster as I quickly approached the chair anxiously awaiting the moment of rest. With a loud thud and an exhale of relief I plopped down and began rubbing my calves wondering how long ago it had been since my last hiking adventure. Because I couldn’t remember where or when it had occurred, I concluded it was obviously a long time ago.
Ugandan Bucket List
It feels like I was just boarding the plane to get to Uganda with high anticipation of what the next three months would bring. Now I’m on the plane to depart, reflecting on my time in the Pearl of Africa.
In recent years, my parents have been into checking things off their bucket list. Since my first blog post was about how my parents inspired me to go to Africa, I find it fitting that they have inspired me to create a Ugandan bucket list.
One of Field of Hope’s core values is adventure -- having fun and being challenged on the journey. Which my time in Uganda has had no short coming of adventure along with some challenges. From long car rides on rough roads that make my stomach turn to almost (unknowingly) eating a gizzard, this usually results in a good laugh or a sweet moment to follow.
One thing that has come pretty easy in Uganda is making friends. The people here are so kind and welcoming. I was walking back to my hotel from a local cafe, one day, when a woman greeted me and started talking to me. I quickly realized that she only knew a handful of English words and she could only speak in the local language of Luo. We carried on a conversation with hand gestures. She was making a gesture like she was writing and I could figure out that she was asking me if I was a teacher. I replied, “No, agriculture”.
The time has finally come, I’m in Uganda! I have preparing for this trip since I first started my graduate program at Oklahoma State a year and a half ago.
Prior to this trip, I was often asked, “Why Africa?” or “Why Uganda?”. Over time, I have realized there have been many different parts that God has perfectly pieced together in my journey to the Pearl of Africa.