Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Monthly Update May 2015

 Weddings and Weeding

April showers bring May flowers. What do May flowers bring? Weddings! We attended our first Ugandan wedding this month when the Kitchen Director got married. Her kitchen and staff was one of the first photo essays in Africa Zoe collected on film so she asked us to come and shoot her wedding, I went along to keep Zoe company. We were assured we were the only photographers she asked but as you can imagine as soon as things got going out came every image capturing device people have and we were off to the races. One of the things that photographers will do here is without invitation people will shoot a wedding, both still and on video, and if you like it they'll sell it to you. Most were just friends and loved ones who wanted images for their own personal memories, I guess. It goes beyond a culture that just got a new toy and has to use it for everything, folks just crowded in for every moment. Zoe did a wedding shoot in the States and her mentor guided her how to be invisible. Photographers are necessary but they need to capture the moment without becoming part of the moment. As you can see in the top photo that's just not how it is done here. One official photographer, one videographer on speculation, and then as many as ten people who would just come right up and take pictures or video. Zoe quickly adapted and jumped right into the fray. I don't believe any elbows were thrown but she certainly had to push in to get the shot. That is the way here. They don't value confrontation so if you need something or are in a hurry you just do it. If you wait, it's because you've got nowhere better to be. The big thing that makes them get on schedule is when the rains come. 

And boy have they come. We went from two and a half months of nothing to well over 40 inches in thirty-nine days (I say "well over" because my home-made rain gauge tops out at four inches). We'll keep getting rain through May, maybe a bit more in June, but that will be all we get for the short growing season. The long growing season goes from August to December and that's when most of the crops are grown but this short season is still important. As you know from previous posts we were ready to plant. The beans and corn we got going are all doing well and of course so are the weeds. The picture below is one of our base work crews weeding the bean field. We also have another crew weeding Mondays and Tuesdays. All that grass behind us will become mulch next week so once we get this round of weeds cleared we can slow down the next set from growing. Yes, a nice treatment of weed killing spray would make this all hard labor unnecessary, but that kind of defeats our goal here of soil restoration and sustainability. Just as confused as we are about photographing a wedding the Ugandans are just as confused about our weeding.

One thing they do appreciate is natural medicine. When we covered this subject last year in the Ag School, Jeri was able to attend. Now she has the opportunity to share with her Bible study group what the plants they already know have to offer them. The irony of course is the foreigner has to educate them about their native plants. Just as in the States, the passing down of traditions is challenging and much of the knowledge from previous generations has been forgotten. But nobody likes going to the doctor especially when the remedy grows in your back yard.

Thank you for following our journey. Your participation and support allows us to bring education and resources to those who hope to end their poverty.