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Seeing those around you

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Posted Feb. 17, 2015

I've learned a lot about breaking down walls to meet and know the people around you, even if there is a strong language barrier.

It may be food that brings us together. Moses, the team leader of the farms, introduced me to posho (corn mash) and beans, the main meal for many manual working Ugandans. I mean, they make it by the gallon. And eat it for every meal of the day. Moses likes to eat his posho with the little red peppers, the hottest you can find here. Posho alone is quite tasteless, but the beans make it delicious!

Having a love of fried chicken from KFC in common can also break down walls. Prosse works in the house of Randy, the director of Watoto Sustainability. She loves to bake and aspires to one day open her own bakery. Her banana bread and chocolate chip cookies are delicious!

prosse and emily share kfcProsse and Emily share KFC.

I've found that sweating alongside someone is the best form of getting to know a person. Here, Danny and a couple of the farm workers are working together to disassemble one of the grain silos that was incorrectly installed. It's a much harder job than it looks ... Each bolt that is seen must be taken out individually with someone on the inside and outside of the silo.

disassembling a faulty siloDanny, Charles and Henry begin to disassemble the faulty silo.

I was surprised to find out that sharing a cigarette seems to make both people forget their differences. Marius and Charles had been frustrated with the process of disassembly of the silo and it was the end of the day, but Marius offered a cigarette to Charles in celebration of finishing the day. It's funny how quickly everyone began smiling.

marius and charles on breakMarius and Charles share a break.

Paying an interest in someone's investments also makes a difference. Henry has eight goats that Watoto has allowed to be kept on the grounds at the poultry farm. They are kept on a leash to graze during the day and released at night to free-graze. One goat just had two kids a couple of weeks ago. I also learned he has cattle and a banana plantation in another village that he and his family are responsible for. He was so proud to show me his goats!

henry, a poultry farmerHenry, a poultry farm worker, and his goats.

About the Author

Emily Jost is a 2015 Noble-Watoto Fellow working at Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. Jost is from Edmond, Oklahoma, and is in her final semester in the master of international agriculture program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on sustainable development.

Emily Jost
2015 Noble-Watoto Fellow