“Work Hard, Get Smart”: Fellow Meikah’s First Few Days in Uganda

Growing up, whenever my siblings and I left for school, my mom would always tell us to “work hard, get smart.” After she dropped me off at the airport and I began my travel journey to Uganda, I kept that phrase in my mind. Now, as I am through my first week in-country, my mom was right; I am certainly going to work hard and get smart throughout the next three months in Uganda.


The ways I was able to work hard and get smart varied throughout the week. After arriving in Lira on a Friday, I took the weekend to become familiar with my surroundings. Including washing clothes, buying food at the market, attending church, and talking with community members. While these tasks were important, I was ready to get to work by the time Monday rolled around.


And boy, Monday did not disappoint. Monday included visiting the Leyi Naa project in Dokolo. With support from Field of Hope, this village is raising four sows and one boar. The most evident aspect of this visit was the pride the village had for their production. As I walked around with my camera, one farmer, Pastor Tim, would point out which plants in his garden I should take pictures of as he carefully explained to me what each one was. As we went to visit the livestock, a woman farmer pointed out a rabbit of theirs for me to photograph. And then the star of the show – the pigs. Many people from the village came to feed their pigs, and the pigs were just as excited to see them. Afterwards, the village received training from Field of Hope on preparing for breeding, bookkeeping, and biosecurity. While the purpose of extension is an opportunity for education, it also provides an opportunity for farmers to show how hard they have worked.


Tuesday was another day in the field and a special day for me. Since 2021, I have been a board member of Her Mighty Hands, who has been partnering with Field of Hope to provide smartphones with video-based agricultural extension to women farmers. Tuesday was the day I met participants of the Her Mighty Hands group for the first time. It is one thing to see the pictures sent by Joseph and Agnes of how the groups are doing, versus being able to visit the gardens and hear about how bringing extension curriculum to their own field impacts their ability to learn as a farmer. Extension can come in a variety of ways, and I am looking forward to hearing more about how videos have the potential to be a tool for women to access education and ultimately be more productive.


While Wednesday was a (much needed) office day to catch up on work, Thursday brought the opportunity to attend another extension training on financial literacy. It was this day that I realized how prepared Field of Hope staff are for the training they provide. Walter and Agnes created an effective learning environment with an interactive lesson for the women’s group. Many smiles and laughs were shared during this time, and while I could not understand the local language, Lango, I shared the smiles and laughter all the same.

To round out the week, Friday included a visit to the second Her Mighty Hands group, with a stop at another Leyi Naa project along the way. It was a week full of opportunities to see the impact of extension. Field of Hope does an incredible job at maximizing time and resources to create a significant impact. Just from this first week, I know this summer will be an incredible opportunity to work hard and get smart.

By: Meikah Dado, FOH Fellow ’24

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