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Reisverslag blog 5: Time for an update!
22 april 2018
blog 5: Time for an update!
It has been some time ago that I have written a blog, I have had very busy weeks at work and also Pieter came to visit me for two weeks! But let’s keep it in chronical order, so I will talk about that later.
In the weekend after my previous blog I went to Kampala (capital city) to visit some Dutch friends of mine (Frederieke and Elske from Zambia/dispuut for who knows;)) . We had a great time together and I was happy to see them again after two years! In the evening we went to a very nice local dance show (3 hours show!) of many different tribes, we really enjoyed it!
In the following week I was very busy with my research. I had quit surprising results from my research, since milk quality of the cooperative I work for was much lower than everybody was expecting. Therefore, I talked to several stakeholders about it to find out what causes this and what we can do to solve the problems that I found. Now I am trying to discover what the real cause of the problem is: Machines, people committing fraud, or corruption issues. I am still on it, so I will talk further about this later on.
Also, I am very busy with Excel. I have made a tool do analyse milk quality and now I have started to show it to other cooperatives and to teach them how to handle the tool. This tool can really improve the cooperatives management, since now they have records of how much they produce and what quality they produce. Also they can see from every farmer separately what quality he/she produces, so then they can tackle the problems on farm level. This development a big step forward, so I really hope the cooperatives embrace this tool. And I am happy I started making this tool.
After the busy weeks it was coming to Eastern and Pieter came to visit me! He was here 28 march till 10 April. We had such a great time! The first week we travelled around in 5 different places around Victoria Lake. We enjoyed some luxury life, some local life, and met very nice people. We met a.o. a Dutch speaking woman who is minister of Eastern Uganda. We had a nice talk and she gave us here card in case we would get any problems here in Uganda, haha.
Besides some city trips we also visited a big Island in Lake Victoria. The boat trip took 3.5 hours and was quite terrible. The people were arrogant, the boat was moving a lot and it smelled quite bad. But the island (Kalangala) itself was really beautiful! We swum in Lake Victoria, were relaxing on the beach, enjoyed the good food they made for us, and we had a nice adventure on the mountainbike: We were cycling for a long time and then we met a guy, Joshua, who showed us to a place where we could see another part of the Victoria Lake. We really had to pass through the “bushbush” to get there, but it was a nice and funny experience. After that, he brought us to a farm of a friend of him where we looked around and asked some questions about the farm. An interesting visit, especially for Pieter! On our way back to the main road Joshua brought us to his own home. It was a very tiny wooden “house”, so it was clear that he is really poor. In his house his wife was lying with her kid on some blankets (in “bed”), because she was very sick. She has malaria. We went outside again and talked a bit. Then we decided to give Joshua some money. When we gave it to him he was so amazed! He ran into his house, went to his wife and we heard they were so excited! The wife came outside the house to thank us and then we could indeed see she is very sick. With the money we gave them, Joshua can buy medicines for her, so they were very happy. After that, we continued our way back to the main road. Joshua carried my bike, because the road was very bad. When we were on the main road we gave him some more money so he could invest that on his farm. He was very thankful and we were all very happy!
When we were cycling back we thought about getting a ride somehow, because we were very tired and we had a long and very hilly ride ahead. Then a truck full of sand passed and we asked them if we could sit with our bikes on top of the sand that he was transporting. He was fine with it so we climbed on top of the truck. What a ride haha, we really had fun!
After the Island we went by taxi (with a crazy and super stressed taxi driver) and boat to the mainland again, to Masaka. There we enjoyed our last two days that we were only with the two of us and then we went to Mbarara, where I stay with Hilleke. We started well, because on the day we arrived Pieter, me and Hilleke organised a Dutch Dinner for all our colleagues at office. 25 people came and we had a really nice evening together!
The next day we visited farms, and in the evening Hilleke, me and Pieter had dinner in my favourite Indian restaurant (which Pieter also really liked) and went out. First we went to a bar and after that we went to a club. Pieter found the bar nice, but the club was quite a culture shock for him. Being the only white guy and being so tall, so that everybody can see you and is watching you, that is not easy. Also, some guys were doing all there smooth dances to try to impress me, that is also a bit weird sometimes. But when Hilleke and I went out for the first time we had the same experience, especially Hilleke felt really out of place the first time. But now we are used to it.
The next day the three of us had a relaxing day. We did some groceries, played monopoly (yes I played a game:p) and had dinner in a special pork place. Sunday we went on safari with two of our colleagues! We got the four wheel drive from a colleague of us and it was awesome! We saw many animals and had a lot of fun. We also got stuck in the mud (the four wheel drive was not working or we switched to it too late). It took us an hour to push it back on solid land! But we succeeded and we really had fun!
Monday we did farm visits again. On our way we met a farmer that we also had met before. But this time he was drunk! He took us to his bar and we had a nice chat. Though, still it was weird he was drunk ofcourse.
Monday evening Pieter and I went out with the two of us, because it was our last night together. We really enjoyed it, though the restaurants service was really terrible, haha. Tuesday morning he left. We made a friend who is a taxi driver and he brought him to Entebbe again. We really had a great time!
Tuesday I was in the field, visiting a coop to talk about my Excel sheet. Wednesday and Thursday I attended a financial management training that Agriterra (where I do my internship) organises. I learned a lot! And the end of the training on Thursday I went out with ten colleagues. We had so much fun! We were planning to do only one drink, but it was bucket night. We chatted, we danced, and really had a great evening!
Besides happy stories there is also some bad news. A few times I have talked about the place where I often go for lunch. Well, that time is over, because the woman who was running the place, died. She is killed by her husband with a hammer. When I heard this, I was really crying. This woman, was so nice and welcoming. She even gave us free lunch one time, that’s really the first time someone gave me something for free, because especially for white people they don’t do that. I really can’t imagine someone could hurt her that much!
Another thing is that there are big issues with my research now. It seems that the whole machine on which my research is based, is not calibrated, so the results are wrong. Coming week I will see what I can do with my data, ofcourse it's not all for nothing, but a big part is really wasted..
But of course, I don’t end this blog with bad news. This weekend I went to a youth conference in the south of Uganda (very beautiful nature there!), and there I was one of the 4 speakers. About 150 young farmers attended the conference, so that was a great turn-op! I talked about Dutch farming and NAJK, (Nederlands Agrarisch Jongeren Kontakt), a big organisation for young farmers in the Netherlands. I also emphasised the importance of cooperatives, collaboration and record keeping. The youth was really interested and enthusiastic so it was a success!
22 april 2018 17:29 | Door: jetty bos
hey Marije, dat is weer een heel verhaal geworden, het is nooit saai om te lezen.