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Where Has the Time Gone?

By LaNese Mahan, 2017 MIAP-Noble Fellow

Posted Sep. 30, 2017

I set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. so I could sit on my balcony and watch Lira come to life. As I sit here, there are children playing in the maize crop. Every once in awhile, I will hear “muzungu, muzungu” (Luo term for white person) and I will look up smile and wave. They will giggle and continue playing. This will be one of the memories I forever treasure.

amolatarThis photo was taken the first week during a savings and loan training session. These are the participants we interviewed from the Amolatar District.

This week, we visited the Dokolo and Amolatar districts to gather information on each woman participating in the Women’s Empowerment Program. There are four districts total, and each district has 40 members. The questions we asked were:

  • How many biological children do you have?
  • How many dependent children do you have?
  • Out of the total, how many children are in school?
  • What is your estimated yearly income?
  • Do you own livestock? If so, what species and how many?

The answers to these questions were very interesting. Many of the women had biological as well as dependent children. Dependent children are children whose parents had passed away and who had been taken in by these families. The estimated yearly income varied because some of the women only received income from agricultural pursuits while others had a personal business as well, for example: tailoring, drug shops (pharmacy) and retail stores. They also owned a number of livestock including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and/or ducks. Each of the women interviewed is participating in a loan and savings group. The information gathered will help track the progress of the groups throughout the coming years and monitor the progress of the savings and loan training. I was honored to have one-on-one time with each of these women to learn more about their lives.

I am officially halfway through my trip, and I keep asking myself “Where has the time gone?” Uganda is truly a special place that finds its way into each visitor’s heart. I am eager to see what the next four weeks has in store. Stay tuned!

sunflowerThe latest “Mom, I’m Fine” picture was taken in a sunflower field on the way to the Dokolo District.

About the Author

LaNese Mahan is a 2017 MIAP-Noble Fellow serving in agricultural development roles in Uganda. Mahanis 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.

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