Happy birthday, Uganda!
As I write this post, the rain is really coming down. When I say coming down, I mean coming down with a vengeance. It is a blessing to all the farms and a good thing for me too. I have several school assignments due this week, and this rain is making sure that I stay inside to work on them.
October marked a change in the way Watoto employs their workers. They will no longer be paying individual employees cash every two weeks. Instead, they are moving toward contracting out labor groups and paying the groups through direct deposit into the group's bank account. In response to this, the workers on the farm have formed a group and are currently discussing how the group will operate. They have elected officers who will serve as the liaison between farm management and the group. These officers will also help distribute funds to the workers on pay day. I have heard both positive and negative reactions to this change. It will be interesting to watch as this new chapter at the farm unfolds.
title="Lubbe Farm Workers Association members" alt="Lubbe Farm Workers Association members" src="/secure/CMS/Content/contentassets/d8e686eab18d413c9fa3a714ebee87aa/lubbe-farm-workers-association-members,,3133?epieditmode=False" height="443" width="606" />
Lubbe Farm Workers Association members discuss their rules of governance.
As I have worked on my internship here, it has become clear to see that Watoto is committed to improving the lives of the residents of communities where they work. Currently, they have placed two boreholes on the farm that are accessible to the community. Previously, the community collected their water from an unclean water source in the area. They are planning to pump clean water to storage tanks that are closer to the road, which will make it even simpler for people to collect clean water.
This is where community members have collected water from in the past.
I can't finish my post without mentioning the fact that Uganda celebrated its 53rd Independence Day on Friday, Oct. 9. The big national celebrations were held in the northern city of Gulu, but all of Uganda celebrated its birthday. In President Museveni's speech he promised more funds to the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). Hopefully this will mean improvements in Uganda's agricultural sector. Time will tell. Happy birthday, Uganda!
Jennifer Bryant is a 2015 Noble-Watoto Fellow working at Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. Bryant is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is in her first year of the master of international agriculture program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on international agriculture development and sustainability.