Paved road from Jinja to Kamuli but once off the road you are on dirt roads.
Kamuli is about 2.5 hours from Kampala with rolling hills and lots of farming, There is the town but most of Kamuli is rural with a population of about 720,000 people. Farming consists of millet, potatoes, beans, maize and sunflower. Cash crops like cotton, coffee and Sugar cane are there but most are run as foreign corporations and pay poor wages to the workers. There is a lot of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, onions, bananas (many kinds), papaya and mangos. Each family has a garden and many have a cow, chickens and goats.
Typically housing for many of the people in Kamuli District
In spite of the ability to grow their own food there is very little cash in a family and money for school fees and clothing is very limited. Most people range in the poverty level. As everywhere in Uganda there are a great number of orphans. In this area orphans comprise 7% of the population.
We were hosted by our site monitor Katuntu Hannington.
A handsome Ugandan who says he is a man of few words but he always seems to have plenty to say. He was born in Kamuli but lives in Kampala for work purposes and to have a place to educate his 4 nieces and nephews who he has supported since his sister and brother-in-law died of Aids.
He is part of an NGO called GILEAD. They are a community development organization trying to help the people of Kamuli pull themselves out of poverty. This group built the latrines that the church funded for this project. Hannington acted as our site monitor coordinating this project of boreholes and school latrines with rainwater catchment systems for each school.
Hannington brought along Betty who had been teaching the recipients of this project hygiene and sanitation training. She is an amazing lady who is retired from a government job and now works with Gilead as the hygiene and sanitation trainer.
Visiting the schools to verify the work done was our priority this trip. We had 2 days of seeing schools and one turnover ceremony representing all the schools in the project.
Word didn’t make it to all the schools that there was just one ceremony as each school we visited decided to have their own ceremony with speeches, food, singing, dancing and gifts.
We would pull into a school yard to find all the students lined up cheering and singing on our arrival.
This was in spite of school being in recess and no one was suppose to be at the schools when we visited.
We hurried the process as fast as we could and still be polite but it was obvious that the leaders and teachers of the schools were elated to get a latrine and to get a rainwater catchment systems meant many hours saved from having to send children to haul water.
Notice the tire rim. . that is the school bell
Many pictures and sayings painted on the school walls. ELDER Barlow loved this one.
Hand washing station outside of each latrine.Each latrine had 5 to 8 stances with a hand washing station outside the latrine (usually the latrine was the best looking building on the school campus.).
Farrell dubbed this the teachers lounge. It had a bench and a nice breeze blowing through.
Each school also had gutter installed draining in to a 10,000 liter water tank.
Note the decoration for our visit
Rain water is plentiful 9 months out of the year so this was a great gift. Many of the schools were being threatened with closure if they didn’t get an adequate latrine so much of the singing was about ‘getting a latrine so we can continue to go to school.’
Oh and we had to cut the ribbon to officially open the latrine for use.
We were given gifts of appreciation including giant mushrooms, papya, sugar cane, oranges and the best gift, two live chickens.
Farrell tried to get them to keep the chickens but Hannington told us it would be impolite to refuse such a gift as they were giving all that they had.
We bumped along the dirt roads and those chickens put up quite a fuss then Farrell hit a big hole that made us fly through the air and suddenly the chickens went quiet. We feared the worst.
We traveled to the far end of Kamuli which ends at lake Kyoga. What a site we saw.
Laying on the ground being dried was a blanket of little silver fish. These fish are called Mukene fish. Fish is a cheap source of proteins for both humans and domestic animals. The Mukene is important as food to the Nile perch, the most important export fish in the country. The Mukene fish is fished at night by light attraction. Kerosene lamps are floated on water attracting fishes to light. Mukene is then fished out using scoop-nets and nets pulled from the shores (beach seines) and from canoes (lampara nets). These fish are approximately 48 mm, They are dried and reconstituted as needed for food.
On our way back to Kamuli town we visited two old borehole sites from a project 4 years ago. We found them working well. The people were originally pulling water from a pond and a lake both of which were great health risks. Guinea worms are very prevalent here along with many other illnesses that are spread by these contaminated waters. The people sang and clapped and told us how much they relied on these boreholes. They asked if we could get them mosquito nets as they were suffering with much malaria and needed nets to protect their children
After our trip we were informed by church security that one of the ploys to get at Americans was to throw obstacles in the road causing people to stop and then evil people would come out of the bushes and do you harm.
Thank you Heavenly Father for watching over us not so smart missionaries and keeping us safe.
View of the Nile from our hotel room. It really was worth traveling back to Jinja to spend the night where we could eat safe food and have a shower. The next morning we found monkeys playing on our cottage and swinging through the trees.
Oh, about those chickens. When we got back to Kamuli town and opened the truck the chickens were just fine. but the back of our truck was quite a mess. We gave the chickens, the mushrooms and the fruit to Betty to take home. She was pleased and more than happy to add two chickens to her brood.