week in paradise

Setting aside time to process everything I am seeing and experiencing seems so overwhelming at times – thus the week in paradise is actually for two weeks because I’m behind.

Every week comes with new places explored, new faces I’ve met and a deeper appreciation for Uganda and all it has to offer.

The quick-and-dirty:

While Randy was meeting with one of the pastor partners, Jeff and I had time to go and see the “Source of the Nile”! We took a 30-minute boat ride to where the Nile River begins and Lake Victoria ends. It’s here in 1862, John Hanning Speke discovered the source of where the river begins and you can still see today where it is bubbling up from below the surface! The water levels have changed over the many years and at one point before the main bridge to Jinja was built, you could easily walk across land where the river started but now that land is small islands in the middle of the river.

Stopped to see the set up for collecting grasshoppers as they are now in season until the end of December. These barrels and sheets of corrugated metal with a bright light at the top attract the grasshoppers early in the morning where they are blinded and fall to the barrel where they are trapped. From there they are sold to either be boiled or deep fried and are considered quite the delicacy. As you saw in my last post, I’m not a fan but I did try one!

Spent time at the Emmanuel Home and farm area while Randy was visiting. James the farmer who was taught farming through an organization called Farming God’s Way is such a gentle man who truly loves to share his passion of farming with anyone wanting to learn. We harvested some of the maize and had it roasted by the mommas while we were there.

Randy and I stepped into a few of the classrooms at Emmanuel School and were able to greet the kids and teachers. The teach all subjects in English except for when they are teaching the local language. 

Enjoyed a chicken burrito and strawberry lemonade while in Jinja – it wasn’t what I had hoped.

Got to take in another football match with Jeff, Margaret and Randy. The Ugandan Cranes beat the Congo Red Devils in this 2018 World Cup Qualifier match.

Enjoyed a gorgeous morning greeting the kids at school while God painted the sky with watercolors!

Met a horticulturist who was able to share information about growing passion fruit with Patrick, Fred and Solomon – his backyard garden was immaculate!

Visited a school started by Dr. Emma Naluyima and her husband David – they leverage a 1-acre farm to teach the kids farming skills and leave NOTHING to waste; David showed us around the farm. It was so fun to see the gears start moving in Patrick’s head as we learned from David.

Dr. Emma is listed as one of the top farmers in Uganda and has the nickname “Momma Pig” because of her business breeding and selling pigs. She was in New York when we visited; she is a part of the documentary Food Evolution that was just released a week ago. I’m eager to see the film as they discuss GMO, how it’s viewed and if it’s a good thing.

Made juice with Peter – oranges, tangerines, passion fruit, mango, papaya and LOTS of sugar; I was really surprised by how much sugar they use considering the sweetness of the fruit.

Sweating it out with Hellen and Olive at aerobics!

My second time for dinner at the pork joint! While I don’t eat much meat and try to stick to chicken, this place is amazing!

Toured a friend’s farm who has 3.7 acres started in 2004; they now have 274 mango plants with 15 different varieties – who knew there were that many different types of mangos! I also tried an apple-guava and an ortanique. The apple-guava color was like a green apple. After looking up apple guava, the photos I found online are not the same as what I tried. An ortanique is a mix between an orange and a tangerine and very unique – Thus OrTanIQUE. It originates from Jamaica and according to folklore, it was developed with the help of a pair of lovebirds – one living in an orange tree and the other in a tangerine tree.

The farm also had pigs, chickens, cows, fish farm, New Zealand white rabbits, rosemary, grapes, strawberries, chili peppers, lettuce, carrots and onions along with a huge greenhouse area where they grow seedlings to sell as small starter trees – primarily mango trees.

The neighbors were growing coffee trees and even the production of how they plant and then sell the starter trees was impressive to see.

Saw the farm land (50 acres) that was purchased for growing food for the school – pineapple, papaya, banana/matoke, pumpkin, aloe vera and more; Fred is often the one tending to the farm and uses a boda (motorcycle) to drive to the farm which is ~11 km from the house.

Visited the future retirement home location for Patrick and Eva – although Eva tells Patrick that it’s his retirement as she’s not ready for it any time soon.

There was a HUGE jackfruit on the tree on the property – they have 10 acres.

Patrick had planted passion fruit on the property and while it wasn’t growing as much as he’d hoped, it was producing fruit.

Introduction for Grace – a cousin of Jeff – I was only able to stay for about an hour as I had to leave for Kampala with Olive.

Explored Speke Resort – one of the nicest hotels in Uganda; it had beautiful gardens, a great pool, stables of horses, close to a marina and lakefront views and boardwalk.