Sunday, May 27, 2012

rainy season

The rainy season is underway here in Uganda.  We have been having thunderstorms and showers like this one for the past month now.  With the rains comes cooler temperatures, a few more mosquitos than usual, green vegetation, and full swamps.  We have a small garden area that we have prepared.  We planted a few of the common vegetable and also experimented with some seeds we brought from Texas.  When our garden begins producing, we should have watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, potatos, onions, peppers, squash, cucumber, beans, corn, and zucchini.  Many of these vegetable were foreign to our Ugandan friends, but we should have more than enough produce to share some with them.

This area of Uganda has numerous swamps, which are really more like long slow rivers that fill up during the rainy season.  The swamps are great for planting rice and for giving the children a place to swim.  Here is a group of children swimming and practicing their front flips.   It is good that this swamp is shallow, because I have yet to meet a Ugandan that knows how to swim.

The ground is so hard here that folks have to wait until the rains come before they can begin preparing their gardens.  The rains help soften up the soil and allow for plowing with a team of oxen.  Here is a family planting maize seeds in their newly prepared seed bed.  Everything is done by hand with no mechanical help from plows, seeders, combines, etc.  People plant maize, cassava, tomatoes, green peppers, sesame, millet, and sorghum.  Just about everyone plants the same things as their neighbors.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

some pictures

 This is the village of Pingire Karimoja as seen from the air.  We are drilling in this area around Lake Kyoga. We happened to be flying from Kampala back to our home in Soroti and we passed over Pingire.  I recognized the area but was unable to see our guys busy drilling.

 This Odongo Sam.  He is one of the guys that volunteers his time everyday to help us with the drilling.  Here he was taking a break from drilling to play with a monkey our nurse friend Jennifer recently acquired.  The monkey's name is King Solomon.
 Our little buddy Neboth enjoying a mango.  Neboth is the son of our friends Dan and Rose.  He is the youngest of seven, but there is another on the way that should be here soon.  Neboth and Colin are good buddies.
 Here is Colin and Pastor Charles plowing the church garden with a team of oxen.  Colin had never plowed with oxen, but took to it like a pro.  The church plants a couple of acres of maize and cassava every year to help raise money for the church.  We were blessed to be able to help them prepare the area for planting.  We hope to be able to plant a community garden of our own that can benefit the members of the church and the community as a whole.
This is our friend Ojokwan Sam.  He is one of the many young men who help with the drilling.  Ojokwan is 18 years old, is an orphan, lives with Dan's mother, and gives tirelessly and selflessly of his time and effort to help us drill water wells in his community.  Ojokwan, like many of the young men in the community, are eager to give of their time an sweat.  They are eager to be a part of something worth-while, something that makes a difference in people's lives.

A few shots...

Colin and I just (as in yesterday) got back from our two week trip to Tanzania.  It was a good trip but we are ever so thankful to be home!  We went to help a man that took the Water For All drilling course in the spring of 2011, and we were going to help him get a well drilled before he was to teach a class the following week.  We took the MAF flight from Soroti to Kampala on a Friday and then we drove to the Uganda/Tanzania border and then drove to Mwanza, TZ.  A total of 12 hours in a car...However we got to see some of the most beautiful country EVER!  And I do mean ever.  I have (along with Colin) never in my life seen such beauty.  Just breathtaking!  We spent a good part of the first week collecting the materials to drill the well and then started the second week.  Our trip was cut short and we headed back to Uganda on Tuesday.  We stayed in Kampala for two days and took the MAF flight back to Soroti yesterday morning.  We were unable to drill a well and honestly I don't know how well it would have gone because we didn't have any Bentonite to stabilize the wall as we drilled through the sand.  But below are a few pictures from our trip.       

Colin with Lake Victoria behind him

Me with the lake behind me...One day we saw what looked like dust coming off the water only to realize that it was in fact a large cloud of flies that had just hatched.  There were so many of them that they formed a "twister" into the sky!  If you have ever watched the BBC Planet Earth series then you will know what I am talking about.   

We took the ferry across the lake a handful of times and I loved every second of it!  I think I could live on the water given the chance!

These rocks were everywhere around Mwanza...even where we were going to be drilling.  

This house was out in the village right next to where we were going to be drilling.  It is one of the oldest homes there and I just thought it looked really cool.

While Colin was helping gather things for the drilling, I read.  I downloaded "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" on the Kindle and had time to really get into it.  My mom-in-law (Pie) read it some time last year and I remember her just loving it!  And I know why now.  It is a great book and he was a really incredible man.  Books like this really make me want to be a better Christian (as silly as that sounds).  But Bonhoeffer was a man that didn't waste what God gave him.  Talents, knowledge, relationships, time, music, and others were all used to their fullest with Bonhoeffer.  Through reading about him I have been really convicted about how I use or at this point waste my time.  I hope to start becoming better about my time management... 

Some of the local cattle...They look skinny, and that is because this picture was taken at the start of the rainy season.  These guys and gals are coming off of 5 months with little to no rain and they are no getting their bellies full of green grass for the first time in months.  But would you look at those horns!  I guess that when you graze in an area that could have big cats that could eat you, you need some way to defend yourself.  Those things would deter me from wanting to attack!  

This was the drill site.  There is sand and gravel even at the surface of the well and not having  the proper drilling mud make it impossible to go any further than about two feet.  The sand was so loose that it kept falling back in on itself and thus we only make the hole wider, not deeper...

So just a few pictures of what we have been up to!
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Many Blessings!