Over 50 families have contributed so far to the cassava agricultural project we are sponsoring for the women farmers of Kobulubulu, Uganda! We leave in less than two weeks and I will post whenever internet access permits the progress of our trip.
We’ve raised enough for Stage 1 which includes purchase of 20 acres worth of cassava “stems,” planting and weeding.
Our first task when we arrive in the capital of Kampala will be the purchase of two bicycles to take with us to the not-easily accessible village of Kobubulu. These are for the two women selected by KRMA to be project monitors. They will ride around and check on the progress of the agricultural project.
As you may recall from earlier posts, each of the 20 KRMA members will be clearing and planting cassava on one acre of land for the group’s benefit. Many months from now, the first proceeds of sale will be used to keep the children in school by paying for their fees. Then the remaining proceeds will be reinvested in years 2 and 3 to reduce the amount needed from our supporters here in the U.S. (KRMA-U.S. Partners, Ltd.). Our hope is that in less than 5 years the women’s project will be entirely sustainable and we can move on, with the business expertise we have all acquired, to help another women’s cooperative in Eastern Uganda.
Below is a picture from our last trip when Anne Abago, who has agreed to be our volunteer on-site project manager, welcomed her sister, our host Veronica Eragu, to the family compound. I will not be surprised if we once again receive this lovely welcoming of cool water poured over our hands when we arrive in Kobulubulu.
I look forward to sitting around and having conversations with these two fascinating women who love the roots they have in the farms of Kobulubulu. They graciously interpret our western ways to the women of KRMA and help us understand the traditions and values of Kobulubulu.
The funds we will take with us on this trip will be deposited in the newly opened bank account for the 20 women. Again, as you may recall, up to this point they have kept their savings in a lockbox with three locks, the keys kept by three different women. Now they are moving to an account requiring 3 signatories who must agree that every withdrawal is in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding we will be signing together.
The terms of the Memorandum of Agreement outlines our respective tasks and expectations. Already, the women have communicated to us a few of the issues of greatest importance to them: Respect, Transparency, Accountability, God Fearing, Social and Economic Development. I will be asking questions and listening hard to learn what it is about each of these issues that is important to them, and passing that along in a post on this site.
The Signing Ceremony is shaping up to be quite an event. I have been told that certain officials in the District are being invited. I believe the women will bring some symbols of their history in the refugee camps and remembrances of how far they have come. Perhaps we will share stories and dream together about where we all hope to be in the future. I will be bringing a few gifts of my own from the U.S. and will post about those, with photos, in the weeks to come.
Before ending today’s post I want to add one more word about our wonderful contributors. Whatever the amount contributed, each one is very special to us here at KRMA-U.S. Partners, Ltd. I wish you could see the significant difference that even a small contribution can make in the lives of these women, their children, and this community. And, following the model of those who have gone before us in the world of fundraising, we offer a special perk for those who contribute $250 or more: Your very own Kobulubulu chicken to name and cherish.
Let me introduce you to the first of the Kobulubulu Chickens whose photos have been taken this week (Gradiva is a hen named by our very first contributor, and the cock below is being named for the contributor’s father who raised chickens):
So far we have 12 families who have contributed $250 or more and will receive a photo of their chicken in the coming weeks. We will be posting a photo on this blog of each one, and the name the chicken has received. Please let me know if you would like to have your very own Kobulubulu chicken to name!
I will be posting updates at this site whenever I have internet access. Since one portion of the funds raised will be used to purchase a laptop and portable modem, perhaps I will be able to post directly from Kobulubulu. That would truly be exciting for me. Until then . . .