One thing that has come pretty easy in Uganda is making friends. The people here are so kind and welcoming. I was walking back to my hotel from a local cafe, one day, when a woman greeted me and started talking to me. I quickly realized that she only knew a handful of English words and she could only speak in the local language of Luo. We carried on a conversation with hand gestures. She was making a gesture like she was writing and I could figure out that she was asking me if I was a teacher. I replied, “No, agriculture”.
She said, “Oh, agriculture! Apwoyo! Apwoyo! (thank you, thank you).”
She was so genuinely excited and grateful that I was here working with agriculture, and I have to say I am too!
My excitement for Ugandan agriculture heightened this past week. We started off the week with having 11 leaders from different communities throughout Northern Uganda, come to Lira for a subject matter expert training (SME). They learned a variety of different topics from soil management to sunflower agronomy to managing pest like the fall army worm. These community leaders are trained then expected to train the members in their community. It was so inspiring to see lively discussions (even though they were mostly speaking in Luo), about bettering their small communities through agriculture.
Then later in the week I had the opportunity to go to the Harvest Money Expo in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. There were hundreds of vendors and thousands of participants, all interested in the future of Ugandan agriculture. I had the chance to sit in on sessions about urban agriculture, bee keeping and vegetable growing. One of these biggest takeaways for me was from the bee keeping presentation. The speaker said “be open to fellow farmers because we are all trying to meet customer demand.” Such a great simple reminder that we are all in this together.