Every scientist needs to relax and my favourite way is by playing online games. Grand Theft Auto 5, Starcraft 2 and lots of others. I play not only video games but also gamble a little - poker or casino it depends on my mood. I usually play at All Slots Casino because they have the best slots games and I love slots. As for poker - well Pokerstars are the best but I also like 888Poker

Monday, June 13, 2011

I just work here...

So ends our brief respite in Jinja, on the mainland. We parted with Karla a couple of hours ago, she will make her way back to Entebbe airport on her way home today, but not without having had a phenomenal impact on our trip. As planned, her third trip here not only helped Sam and I get to our work site, but also dine an amazing job of connecting us to all of the important faces, places and history that we are working with. Along the way, she showed us the rules of the game and was a great reference for the work we will be doing the rest of the trip. Thanks Jaja Karla.

Yesterday was a day of leisurely productivity; we hung out at a cafĂ© for most of the day while people came to have meetings with us. First up was Robert. He teaches in the Jinja area during the week, but was also the driving force behind the implementation of six secondary school gardens around the country. The remarkable part about his work is his belief in nutritional organic gardening. Schools that are lucky enough to have space to grow often use it just to grow maize for “gut puddy.” Bringing in Robert to work with the garden would help to ensure that the produce is diverse, introducing tomatoes, onions, peppers, cabbage, eggplant and more. He also emphasizes these gardens being a community resource, using a variety of different techniques that help people to grow in areas normally too small or having poor soil. And best of all, he is Ugandan; implying that he knows the climate, and people will be comfortable working with him. The sustainability equation should be a ¾ of an acre fence, plus 5 daylong visits from Robert to download information, yields a garden with invested leaders, students and community members. So for anyone who is interested in supporting our project, we estimate it will be around $1200 for the fence (after finding a cheaper source!) and another $350 for Robert’s contribution. Our funds will cover the materials while we are here. But, any support we get will remove constraints on other initiatives we would like to begin.

If anyone would like to support the garden/fence project, contact former director of EDGE and good friend, Alisha David at adavid2@wisc.edu. Thanks Leesh.

So, following Robert, we had a meeting with another fantastic Robert; Uncle Robbie/ Wafula, VP of Shim. It was a good heart to heart, and though he is spread thin with his microfinance and schoolwork, he remains very invested in us and remains, very much so, one of the original EDGE boys. He was/is concerned about our group losing steam and power, as he has seen the traveling group shrink drastically. But, he also seems to believe that we continue to have great potential as a group and definitely believes that there is need for us on Lingira. It’s been a struggle so far to really get a feel for where we might take our direction next year. And one of his closing points (which aligns with our ambitions,) was to get down on the ground level with people. It’s been very, very easy to do work at SHIM and the secondary school and not every really get down to peoples homes. We’re going to go there though and start talking with people and get the beat of the community. To find the stationary resources in the community.

We were also able to briefly visit Richard Wafula, an island native who is going to automobile mechanics school in Jinja. He’s a sort of model kid from the island, as past travelers know. He attended through secondary school on Lingira, from one of the first graduating classes from the secondary school and continues to cultivate his future here. Bright kid with a good smile who has made the most of himself. 10 minutes after reaching his school it began to downpour. So it was a pleasant extra 20 minutes that we had with him.

Abraham, head of the small Kampala NGO, AGYA, will be visiting in two weekends and bringing along about seven kids from his project. His work involves getting boys to apply themselves creatively and expressively, instead of falling into less constructive activities. By his estimates, around 600 kids make it to his programs now and again, with about 80 regulars. He came out last year and struck a good chord with the boys and he is anxious to share with them again, as well as expose the kids he brings to the island. Not many get off the island and the atmosphere for most of the boys seems to direct them from school, on to football after school, with some girl chasing in there. Hopefully, Abraham will help to show them, or encourage them to be more comfortable with more thoughtful and expressive mediums.

The last thing we were able to (begin to) straighten out was Rose from WORI (Womens’ Rights Initiative) to come to the island. They work to coach a community elected group on Human, Civil, and Sexual rights, so that they may disseminate this knowledge through the community, while serving as an intermediary in cases of violations. Though there is a police post on the island, family and cultural values rule above law most of the time. That includes parental encouragement of daughters using their sexuality to pay secondary school fees among MANY other unacceptable things. So, though we may expect Rose’s work to eventually fade, we hope that it will help tip the scales just a little further towards bringing the community around.

In the end, a lot of what we are doing this time around will be building connections to island with people who can serve as experts in their work and as compatriots highly worthy of emulation. It is becoming more likely that this will remain a component of what we do with the island.

It’s to the hardware now, then back to the island. We have many postholes dug already, but we will have many hours of work ahead of us this week. Once that’s done, we’ll probably throw back a warm soda before working on biting off a big chunk to work down over the next year.

Miss you all. Sam and I have posted several photos on facebook, so check those out if you like. Thanks for the well wishing and support.

Talk soon,

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