Adventures in Agriculture: Stronger (& Better) Together

Interest approaches are commonly used at Field of Hope’s trainings to capture the participants attention and keep them engaged in the lessons. At one of the recent outreach trainings, the interest approach involved sticks. Geoffrey, our trainer had two volunteers come up to the front to participate in a demonstration. One participant received one stick while the other received a handful of sticks. Each person was instructed to try to break the sticks in half.

As expected, the person with only one stick was easily able to break it while the person with the bundle of sticks was unsuccessful. Although the demonstration was conducted in the local language (Luo), no translation was needed. The message was clear: we are stronger together.

Geoffrey was using this concept to emphasize the importance of people joining the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) in order to work together to boost their savings and increase their purchasing power, but “stronger together” has been a reoccurring theme since I arrived in Uganda. For example, if I tried to coordinate the logistics and conduct the outreach trainings on my own, I would not be very successful. When I work with other team members, everything falls into place and we accomplish our tasks almost effortlessly. Each team member brings a unique set of strengths to the table that enable us to accomplish a variety of tasks. If one person faces an obstacle, another member is able to help fill in the gap to solve help the problem and execute the day’s activities with ease.

This theme reemerged earlier this week on our journey to another location to conduct an outreach training. On the way to this training, our car broke down. When a new car arrived, it did not have enough gas and could not start again. So, myself, another intern, and other team members began pushing the car back onto the road. We were successful together, but if I had tried to push the car back onto the road alone, we would still be there to this day.

The demonstration with the sticks at the outreach training is an important reminder that success is not an individual accomplishment. Instead, success only occurs when a team unites to work on a common goal and when each group member is passionate and motivated to reach that goal. While working with Field of Hope, there is no shortage of passion and motivation. Each member is exceptionally passionate about what they do whether that passion lies within leadership development, community outreach, or youth agricultural education. I am very thankful to be working alongside such passionate and caring people, and I am looking forward to what the next few weeks will bring for Field of Hope in the Pearl of Africa!

~Heather Meador, OSU MIAP, 2019 Fellow

(Photos courtesy of Sam Maloy)

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