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Outside the Box

Ryan Danker

By Ryan Danker, Field of Hope Intern

Posted Jul. 26, 2017

There is a traditional board game here in Uganda that I have seen played on random street corners and around the marketplace. The game is called Mweso. It wasn't long until Alexa and I began questioning our driver about the game and if he could teach us how to play. It was about that same time we passed a group playing. Our driver immediately pulled over and had us get out saying, "This is how you learn." We walked up to the group of strangers, and they immediately started a new game for me and coached me through how to play. They described the game like it was very simple, but there is more thinking that goes into it than you would expect.

mwesoThis is how you learn.

One of the things I love most about the work I get to do here is the problem-solving aspect of it all. It requires you to think about all the solutions and then weigh your most practical options. With that, it gives you the opportunity to experiment a little.

Vetiver grassVetiver grass we recently planted in hopes of finding a constant source of mulch for the garden.

There was a man I worked for a few years back who always told me the most valuable resource I could bring to a job or a career was the ability to think. I am seeing that hold true with my experience so far in Uganda.

Drip irrigationOne of the newest additions to a drip irrigation system. Now set up with valves on each row to ultimately give more control of the water.

RecessAlways saving time for recess.

All work aside, some of my favorite days so far are usually Sundays. The church services here are incredible. Although, depending on which church I go to, I may not be able to sing along because most of their songs are in their native language of Luo. But it is still so amazing to watch. The best way I can describe it is adults worshipping with an energy and emotion comparable to that of a children's church camp. It's a bit of a workout sometimes with the dancing, singing and jumping around. There is almost never a pause between songs from one to another. It's really just continuous for about an hour and is usually followed with about an hour long sermon.

GamesAfter church, it's all fun and games.

Whether it's the simplest games of Mweso or the average day working out in the garden, it never hurts to think a little outside the box.

About the Author

Ryan Danker is a 2017 Field of Hope intern working out of Lira, Uganda, this summer where he helps manage irrigation systems for Field of Hope’s partners. Danker is a senior agribusiness major at Oklahoma State University. He is originally from Wellston, Oklahoma.