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Math Lesson in the Garden

By LaNese Mahan, 2017 MIAP-Noble Fellow

Posted Oct. 2, 2017

The first two weeks of my trip were an introductory period to the projects Field of Hope is currently working on. During my stay, I will help with the drip irrigation systems at the school gardens and gather information on the women's agricultural groups in four districts surrounding Lira, Uganda.

I am very fortunate to have a partner in the garden work, Irene Amito; she is a recent graduate from Ndejje University with a degree in general agriculture. We met with garden managers this past week and now have a plan mapped out for the next few weeks.

IreneIrene Amito talks with the groundskeepers at Calo Me Lare about composting.

Uganda is currently in the rainy season. While I am very thankful for the cooler weather, the rain can throw a hitch in the garden plans. Earlier in the week, we set out to plant citrus trees at the Barlonyo school garden. It had rained quite a bit the night before planting. I am very glad I packed my hiking boots for this trip because, while working in the garden, I noticed my shoes getting heavier and heavier. By the end of the planting, we all had a nice layer of garden soil stuck to our shoes. Even with the rain, we were able to plant most of the citrus trees, with a few left for when the garden dries out. These trees should start producing oranges in about a year. Fun fact: oranges are consumed when they are green here in Uganda.

LaNese MahanLaNese Mahan planting citrus trees at the Barlonyo school garden.

Also this week, we had the opportunity to visit Restoration Gateway. I was very excited to sit in on an agriculture class. The students had a bell ringer, and the day brought back many memories for me from my high school years.

After class, Irene and I helped another class weed their school garden. During this time, I had a lively conversation with two of the students about the years Uganda and the United States gained independence. One of the students asked me how many years the United States has been independent, so we had a math lesson in the dirt. Who says agriculture is the only school subject discussed in the garden?

About the Author

LaNese Mahan is a 2017 MIAP-Noble Fellow serving in agricultural development roles in Uganda. Mahan is from Sheridan, Arkansas, and is a student in the Master of International Agriculture Program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on education and sustainability. This fellowship is sponsored in part by the Noble Research Institute.