I recently had a really fun opportunity to go back and visit Uganda with some World Renew-Kenya colleagues and agricultural staff from Kenyan development organizations! It was very nostalgic to drive back to Soroti again and experience the sights and smells of a place that was home not long ago (it actually still felt pretty home-like). We went to see the agricultural work that World Renew's partner organizations have been doing (the very places and people where I was working before). I really enjoyed seeing people I knew and the progress that they've made since I left.
What was hard to see, though, was how dry it was. It is supposed to be the short rainy season, but many people have had almost no rain at all. Even many farmers' sorghum, which is a drought-resistant crop, is pretty much dead. Most of the areas we visited looked like January, the middle of the dry season:
However, despite the challenges of an unusually dry season, we met farmers in Amuria who have been working with KIDO (who I worked with) who were very hopeful. They are trying a new variety of cassava that is resistant to important diseases and is growing very well even without rain.
One farmer has used a shallow well and dug a ditch from it to his vegetable garden so he can irrigate it a bit.
He is also working on mulching that whole garden to help the soil retain moisture, protect the garden from erosion, and improve the soil.
Another farmer has a diverse variety of crops and fruits so he is certain he will have food at home even if there is a drought. He also grew a lot of eggplant, sliced, and dried it so he and his family will be able to eat it throughout the dry season:
World Renew, with both KIDO and KMDP (the two Ugandan development organizations I worked with in Uganda) trained some farmers how to use a soil testing kit so they can go around and test other farmers' soil for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It will help them see how healthy their soil is, know better how to rotate crops, and also to see how conservation agriculture benefits the soil. I enjoyed watching these farmers who I knew, give the demonstration. They're rural farmers, but they were as comfortable with the test tubes and reagents as a chemistry teacher!
Not only did I get to see the great things and the hope of the farmers we visited, but I also got to spend time with some of the KIDO and KMDP staff who I was with so much over the past years in Uganda. And I really enjoyed being with Edward again; he was our World Renew Uganda supervisor and is a good friend. I already miss them and am so thankful for their dedication to the farmers and the work that they do. This is Sharon, Geofrey, and Sam: