Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rural homestay-Kapchorwa

Oct. 17th-We left for our week long rural homestay. We drove to Kapchorwa, located in Eastern Uganda. It's about a 5 hour drive from the Ugandan Christian University (UCU) campus. (It takes a while to travel anywhere here due to rough roads and/or traffic jams not because of traveling a great distance). We got to see the Nile River on our way as we drove through Jinja, the source of the Nile.

I was dropped at my home about 3:30. David and Judith Tweituk were my host parents. David worked as a district accountant for 30 years. Since his retirement in 2010, David and Judith have started a large coffee plantation. They own about 1500 trees and are hoping to expand to 2000 in the coming seasons.  Coffee is the main cash crop in Eastern Uganda. Harvesting occurs from June-Jan. I had the opportunity to see the process of making coffee from start to finish, and I was involved in nearly every step of the process during my stay.

For those who are interested this is a link to the company buying the Tweituk's dried coffee beans to be roasted, ground and sold in Kampala and the US.

Oct. 18-24th Brief description of how my week went:
  • David and Judith were gracious in allowing to wake up whenever. It was wonderful to I wake up without an alarm, around 8-8:30 am each morning. It was great to be able to catch up on some sleep. 
  • We took tea and breakfast shortly afterward 
    • typical breakfast- milk tea for David and Judith and black tea for me (milk tea-base is hot milk instead of hot water), mini bananas, posho porridge (ground maize and water-doesn't have much flavor/very bland), boiled egg, passion fruit juice
    • some mornings also had avocado, carrots, tangerine, and leftovers from dinner such as Irish potatoes, cabbage, g-nut sauce with bitter eggplants or beans and papaya 
  • After breakfast, and washing dishes Judith and David attended to various tasks around the farm or with coffee process. I constantly offered to help out, and my offers were sometimes accepted but often refused since I was a visitor. This was a bit frustrating at times since I wanted to be treated more like a member of the family rather than a visitor. I didn't force the issue very much since this is a demonstration of Ugandan hospitality as well as to honor and respect a white (mzungu) visitor.
    • Helped out with simple tasks:
      • washed dishes (inside or outside depending on the rain)
      • coffee process: washing, rinsing and drying the coffee 
        • repeatedly filled up a jerry can to wash the coffee 
      • raking leaves using a bundle of small twigs to push them into the compost pile
      • helping with a few meal preparations-sorted rice (removing rocks and grass pieces), cutting up tomatoes and onions to be cooked with the rice, cooking rice, peeling Irish potatoes and matooke (similar to plantains, but very sticky/messy process), shelling beans, holding a chicken while Judith removed non edible parts and cut it up
      • milked a cow one morning
It was a great experience and I enjoyed the opportunity to see and experience rural Ugandan life!