I never thought I would have to contemplate which necessity I needed more: running water or electricity. At the end of last week, we started experiencing power outages. Then we went completely dark for two days. Luckily, the hotel I am staying at runs the generator for a few hours in the evenings. So, I can contact my family, charge all my devices, and, for a short time, enjoy the cool air from the fan. The power was finally fixed, and we all rejoiced. However, it was short lived. Then the city water quit working. We experienced three days of carrying jerry cans and buckets full of water up three flights of stairs. I thought living without power was difficult, but I think I will take running water over electricity any day.
Thursday we set out early for Barlonyo to fetch cut vetiver grass and roots. After loading up the burlap sacks, we piled into the van and headed for Calo Me Lare. The cut vetiver grass served as mulch for the recently transplanted seedlings.
Calo Me Lare students work on mulching the grow beds with freshly cut vetiver grass.
Once we arrived at the school garden, we gathered up some students to help with the task of mulching and planting the vetiver roots. We split into three teams to tackle the task of mulching the grow beds. Each team was responsible for one grow bed; with everyone's help we were able to finish five beds.
The next task was planting vetiver grass roots. The goal is for Calo Me Lare to have an abundant supply of mulch. Walter started by digging the holes for the plants, then each student took a root section to plant. When the planting was done, three students volunteered to water the newly planted plants. Before heading out for the day, Irene had a short lesson with the students about the importance of watering the planted vetiver grass roots. Students volunteered to take turns during the week to check and water the plants. It was a very successful day in the garden.
Even though this week came with its challenges, it was very successful in the school gardens. Working with the faculty, staff and students has been a rewarding experience for our team. I have been blessed with a wonderful Ugandan team – Irene, Walter and Kunda. I could not have accomplished what we have without them. I want to extend a very special "thank you" to each of them for their hard work and dedication.
The blue cow has found a new home with Jesiah, whose mother has been helping LaNese Mahan during her time in Uganda.
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.