A busy and successful week in Kampala
Trip Start Jul 23, 2010
89Trip End Apr 17, 2011
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Where I stayed
Residence of Peter's Aunt & family
Monday and Tuesday, I spent most of the days doing database development for URCSF, consisting of demographic information on the farmers, their crops, livestock, capabilities, land acreage, interest & needs. Getting funding for any project these days is incredibly difficult. And information is power. The people in the remote area I'm working with are really living in the dark ages. They have no place to sell their agricultural products, so they sell them to each other which, needless to say, doesn't go far. Some leave their fruits to rot on the trees. The conditions here for growing are incredible; the soil is beautiful
Since I've been here, I've met with four different companies that are interested in purchasing fruits from our farmers. And these are serious buyers. Uganda can't meet their own demand for fruit - they are importing from neighboring countries at a premium because they don't have access to these individual farmers - too difficult to find them and work with them as individuals.
So, one of my priority projects is to establish business relationships between our farmers and these buyers. To do that, I need to organize them, know who they are, what they are capable of producing, etc
Wednesday through Friday I spent doing research, appointment setting, and in meetings. We had two great appointments, one with Britania and the other with Reco Industries. Britania was a follow-up meeting since they sent Denis to the farm to meet the farmers a couple weeks ago to discuss what Britania had to offer. Reco Industries is involved in a number of complementary areas, such as honey, juice production, and papain (papaya extract), which I am a little familiar with. A good friend, Jules Paulik, had back surgery years ago and had papain injected into his spine as part of the surgery
Incidentally, on Thursday, I attempted to get into the US Embassy. The Embassy, aka the mission to Uganda, is under the auspices of the Department of State and provides some pretty extensive funding to projects in Uganda. However, I was turned away - seems you need an appointment. That will have to wait until another time. After meeting with Reco on Friday, and learning that they received significant funding from USAID, looks like I have a bit more preparing to do before I meet with the folk at the Embassy.
On Friday night, Peter & Mommy, Ben and I visited a cultural center in the Kampala area where the Ndere dance troupe performed. The highlighted link takes you to a YouTube video that explains the origins of the group and showcases some of the dances. The show was very colorful and entertaining. Dances were represented from north and south of Uganda. Several musical instruments, including saxophone, guitar, drums, and four different forms of hand harps which I've never seen before, from small to large (soprano down to bass), were part of the productionthe pot dance" (most of my photos were pretty dark, but I've included them anyway). If you click on "the pot dance" link, you'll see someone else's video of the dance, which is pretty cool; it's not a video of the the same night, but pretty much the same show. After the show was over, we ran into some Germans that are working on a farm project not far from where the show was. We will be meeting with them on Monday to see what they are doing and see if there are any synergies between the two organizations, theirs and ours.
Saturday afternoon, I worked on an application to a volunteer organization; developed position descriptions & responsibilities that are available for volunteers to fill for short-term or long-term engagements. Pretty boring stuff, but necessary.
On Sunday, I attended mass with Mercy, one of the family boys who is in the seminary here; it was the 25th anniversary of the choir. As it turned out, the Archbishop of Kampala attended, along with a dozen other clergy. The choir presented "gifts" during the Thankoffering, which included predominantly food items - I saw pineapples, a live chicken, flats of eggs, banana leaves (which are used in preparing food), just to name a few
Today was also wash day; Mummy #2 (Peter's other aunt that live here) kept wanting to help me. These ladies work all day long, seven days a week. Last thing I need is them to work doing my laundry, but she wouldn't take no for an answer, so we did it together. The thunder rumbled and the sky got dark, but no rain. Clothes came down, but went back up just as quick.
Peter & Cissy stopped over with Daniella and nephew, Malcom. I was able to get some pretty good pictures as everyone was relaxing and talking. I hope you enjoy them!
Monday, we have several appointments. The morning will start with a 10:00 appointment with Jakana, a natural fruit juice processor just a few miles from Mummy's house. Then we will stop at the government agricultural research park, followed by a visit with the Germans we met Friday night, some errands in town, and then a 3:30 appointment with an exporter of herbs and spices on the other end of town, close to Peter's and Cissy's home.