July 2, 2012

A taste of Mabamba Swamp

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 1:59 am
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A few photos of Mabamba Swamp. More to come…

Life on the Land

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 1:38 am
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The first week of my three weeks in Uganda was spent at the village of Luteete near Butera. This is where Mike and Shirley call home. Out there they have 21 acres of land and are beginning to clear the land and grow some crops. Life at the village is pretty simple though – there is power, but just like in Kampala, it can go off at any time, there is no running water, no real roads, no shops – it’s pretty basic. I’ve taken a few photos of life at the village, so I’ll post them as we go along. But, it’s not all bad.

Chooks, dogs, goats and pigs just roam freely around the village. Button, Mike’s dog, is known by all the villagers. Most of the time Button is tied up, but ocassionally he’s let off and the neighbours do their best to send him back home when he comes knocking at their place!

Mike and Shirley have an ensuite and a fairly decent sized house, complete with a stove and kitchen sink! They had warned me that it was a small primitive house, but for me, I think it’s huge and is really pretty good (I think maybe they have too much stuff!). The guest bathroom now has a concrete floor, the toilet even has a roof (and the pit is almost deep enough to make sure you have no smell! It really is a “long drop”!) and the shower allows you to view the stars while pouring water over yourself! (And I really do appreciate Mike boiling the water for me each night I was there so I could have some warm water). The back light almost reaches the bathroom, so you really only need a torch when you actually have a shower! As basic as our facilities are, they are far better than the neighbours. Maybe it’s primitive to Mike and Shirl, and I’m sure there’s a few people in Australia who wouldn’t bother with village life (no running water will turn many off), but I don’t think it’s too bad.

First day there, I got a tour of the land. There’s a bit of a stream that flows through, making a bit of swamp. The neighbours cows love the swamp and there was quite a few times while I’ve been there that Mike has told them off for bringing the cows onto his land. (The cows just come in and eat all his crops!) As well as telling off the neighbours for having their cows in his place, he met a couple of young guys from another area chopping down the reeds in his swamp. He told them off and turned out they wanted them to sleep on. They had no place to sleep, but were willing to work. So Mike then recruited his two best workers to start the next day – bringing them some food and water and accidentally entrusting them with the keys to everything. Turns out they are also good honest workers, as a bit later on they came wandering back with the keys Mike had accidentally left with them. Some of the villagers have been good to them and I think they now have a place to stay and have had some food to eat.
None of the land is fenced as yet, that’s a project for when I go (seems everything is a project for “when I go”!!!).
We harvested some “first fruits” while I was there – some butter beans, zucchini, squash and a few peas.

There’ll be more posts on village life to come – this is an introduction! I’ll talk about how we get water, the drive into town, school life, the sounds and animals you wake up to at some UNEARTHLY hour in the morning and I’ll post some photos of lamingtons, Mbamba swamp, Mpanga forest… This may not happen before I get home though, but I’ll update as I can!

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