Kobulubulu Here We Come!


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.

Cassava in cultivation in Democratic Republic ...

Cassava in cultivation in Democratic Republic of Congo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Traditional welcome ritual of water poured over hands

Traditional welcome ritual of water poured over hands

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.

Anne Abago and sister Veronica Eragu

Anne Abago and sister Veronica Eragu

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):

Gravida named by Bonna & Rick Whitten-Stovall

Gradiva named by Bonna & Rick Whitten-Stovall

DSC00403 DSC00432 - Version 2(All the chickens in Kobulubulu are “free range.” The danger is that the chicks may be carried off by wild dogs but we will hope that doesn’t happen to any of the chicks produced by “our” 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 . . .


About helena grace

Actively seeking how to live in this seventh decade of my life with creativity, compassion, and imagination. While I'm a retired lawyer/mediator and life-long community activist especially in child advocacy, my relationships with others, two-legged and four-legged, define the source of my growth. My spiritual life connects deeply with music and in the community of the creative. I treasure being a mother, wife, grandmother, and daughter. I experience glimpses of the divine in children's illustrated books, peoples of the world, artists, especially of indigenous art forms. I am intrigued at the possibility of finding kindred spirits in the blogosphere, and exploring how to be authentic and maintain a sense of the sacred, and perhaps the private, in such a global dimension.

6 responses »

    • Thank you so much! I love being part of your community in the blogosphere! I feel such a mixture of awe and encouragement from so much support, and a bit of trepidation as I prepare to leave. If ever you are in the D.C. area, please let me know!

  1. We are so excited about your ip moong trip, the MOU and the start of this important project. We want to name our chicken. Malala for the Pakistani teen who so bravely stands up for free education for all children in the world
    Have a safe and blessed trip!!

  2. What a wonderful achievement for you. I wish you much success on your upcoming project. I know this will be a life changing experience for you. Godspeed!

    • Thank you so much, Alice. It has already been life changing since I met these women last year and felt so moved to begin the support group here in the U.S. One of the women in the KRMA group has translated the stories of the original 8 women who met each other in the refugee camp. I will be publishing their stories on this blog when I take their photos on this trip.

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