There are many parts that make up Watoto Child Care Ministries. Over the course of the last week, I have had the opportunity to see many of these pieces working in conjunction with one another. After arriving in Kampala, settling into my hotel and spending a day running errands, I woke early Thursday and began my whirlwind week of visits to the Watoto Sustainability operations at Buloba, Suubi and Lubbe. The week started with a visit to Buloba Chicken Farm the source of eggs for Watoto villages.
In many ways, Buloba is the nexus of Watoto Sustainability. Along with housing more than 10,000 chickens, Buloba is where maize from the Lubbe crop farm is stored. This maize, along with other ingredients, is milled into feed for Buloba's layers and the goats of Watoto's dairy at Suubi.
The blue cow surveys Lubbe Farm.
Following a day spent with the chickens, I visited Okello Sunday at Lubbe, a strikingly beautiful commercial farm located about an hour outside of Kampala. The rainy season has brought about varying shades of green for as far as the eye can see. Right now, Lubbe is producing primarily soybeans and common beans along with test plots of mango seedlings and pawpaw. In addition to providing crops to Watoto villages, Lubbe has also developed extension programs to train farmers and students from the surrounding community.
Patrick gave a tour of Suubi to some visiting Swedes.
Suubi, home to more than 40 dairy goats, several goat kids and one cow, provides nearly 50 liters of milk to the baby home each day. Patrick, the manager of Suubi, is always moving and most of the time he is running. Seemingly tireless, Patrick ensures that goats are happy and healthy, goat kids are thriving, and that milk is consistently delivered to Watoto and outside customers.
The operations at Lubbe, Buloba and Suubi are deeply intertwined. Managers are in constant communication with one another, profitability and efficiency require the cooperation of all three farms, and each serves a purpose in achieving the goals of Watoto Child Care Ministries.
Malcolm, one of the children at Baby Watoto in Suubi, and I became good friends. He is one of many children who are positively affected by Watoto Sustainability and Watoto Child Care Ministries.
Just up the hill from the dairy is the baby home at Watoto's Suubi Village. Here, nannies and volunteers care for children ranging in ages from infants to "big toddlers." The baby home is rarely quiet; but when shrieks of joy, songs and occasional tears do subside, there is a sense of peace that settles over the house. It was in these moments that I was able to appreciate the intricacies of the Watoto system. When the moving pieces of Suubi, Buloba and Lubbe fall into sync with one another, the lives of children are positively affected in one of the most fundamental ways stomachs are filled. By meeting this basic need, Watoto Sustainability provides a foundation for Watoto children to grow into the next leaders of Uganda.
Gabriella Bragoli is a 2016 Noble-Watoto Fellow working at Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. Bragoli is from Chico, California, and has one semester left in the master of international agriculture program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on food security and development.