Jess and I have had yet another extremely busy 10 hour 6 day work week. We have been working the global vets students (aka “our interns) very hard as well. We spent the week continuing our work monitoring the beneficiaries and assessing their goats. We were also very busy preparing for a training seminar that we held on Saturday. Many beneficiaries had not met the standards that were required by FAOC and we wanted to ensure that they were well educated about our expectations. Mobilization of people is somewhat difficult here so we worked hard to communicated to each group about the event on Saturday. Providing food is always a sure fire way to increase attendance.
On Saturday morning, we had several setbacks. The generator wasn’t working to power the computer and the projector wasn’t working as well but we managed to get it all sorted out. We arrived at the church where the training session was to be held. We anticipated 75 people arriving and there were only 11 people! Yikes. Most women have to walk quite a distance so we purposely told them the training session started at 9 when it actually started at 10:30. By the time we started the church was very full and we had 93 people come in total. We spend the whole day teaching them on serveral topics: expectation of FAOC, the revolving funds, paravet requirements and extension workers, goat and pig housing, nutrition, breeding and diseases. We also had a beneficiary Saphina come and tell her story of how she become very successful through FAOC. She started as member with 2 goats and now has a poutry operation, has shares in a bank and is the local councilor of her town. Her children are all in university and she is thriving. Her talk was very motivational and inspiring to the woman and to us. It is amazing the changes that FAOC has made! The director of FAOC also gave a motivational talk and had the local council of the the town Kaberebere come and give a speech.
It is difficult to hold peoples attention for a full day but be had a break to provide the women with tea and chapatis and then another break to have a full lunch with matoke (plantaines), posho, beans and muchomo (goat meat). We didn’t finish up until 5 pm and most people were still there and very much engaged in our presentation. At the end we gave our vision for the summer which was well received and we there then showered with thank-you. All of the women shake their hands in the air and we have to move our hands towards us to accept the well wishes. The day was a true success and we are very excited to see the changes and the progress that these members will make over the weeks to come!
Currently there is an ebola outbreak but it is in north east Uganda and near Kampala (the city center). I hope it gets contained! Other than that, everything is great here and we are really enjoying our time here!
Some random facts that we have learned in Uganda: Women “lose” their virginity if they walk too fast. Nose picking is VERY socially acceptable (eww). Punctuality is non-existance. Sometimes yes means no, no means yes, left means right, etc. Umm always means yes but really means “Im not really sure”.
Laura and Jessica