Here are a few of the things I've learnt while in Uganda; 

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Until recently one could forego the traditional marriage proposal to become "engaged by capture"...

where the groom kidnaps his future bride, and after a few days returns to his future brides family with his family (father, uncles, brothers, cousins) to declare "Oh, your missing daughter, she's been with us, I plan to marry her, but I'll need a couple of cows and a few chickens before that can happen" Arthur , our neighbouring farmers mother just happened to become engaged in this fashion.

Plants can Bite - It seems that every other plant is armed with thorns, not like the cute little thorns you might find on a rose, more like a stiletto you'd find on a 1970's street gang member.

Mosquito bites can kill you, Red ants can eat a puppy alive, Cobra's will only eat the head and innards of a duck, and Python can and will try to eat your 30kg dog (it would have succeeded if Aaron hadn't killed the Python first.

Motorcycles (aka Boda Boda's) seem to be exempt from traffic laws - that's right, red lights, one way streets, sidewalks, you name it, free reign, open season, wild west style's, go where you wanna go. They are also used as trucks; bed's, pipes, lumber, two other boda boda's can all be stacked on the back seat, and indeed are! (see @justgrowingwithit instagram for photos)

The struggle is real! - I am located in rural Uganda and pardon my... but this is some National Graphic shit out here. Children walk 4kms to Priceless Farms to fill jerry cans with the unfiltered water we pump from the Nile fed Lake Kyoga. No shoes, one shirt, ripped pants, mud hut, one pot, one pan, charcoal fire, beans & rice, maybe some sweet potato, like dirt floor poor. And, for the most part they are happy. It really makes you wonder, can I help them, or could they be helping


Me? Perhaps it's something in the middle.

Cell phones and Solar panels are changing everything - At night on one side of the farm house I hear tribal drumming and on the other somebody throwing down some afro beat hip hop, like Lionel Ritche style 'all night long' - tonight is karaoke night in the fishing village (pop. approx 50pp). A small solar panel, a cell phone, and a bluetooth speaker is all that is required and shit, do they ever get used. These people can party!!! More than that cell phones send 'mobile money' and have connected the continent. Rates are dirt cheap, reception reflects that, and although I have no idea the extent of what the effect of this widely accessible technology is on the people of this land, I imagine it is immense.


Here's what I for sure don't know;

How to relate - from the basic human needs of love, food, water, and the occasional compliment my relational or experiential time on this planet is so fucking different. I mean, I'm explaining to a local women who had just cut one of our waterlines to get some, that she can have some water for her garden in an hour. Then I'm like, does she even know what an hour is? Then I'm all like Uh, DUH of course she does, she has a cell phone and a solar panel. You ignorant Mzungu (Lugandan for white person). But what I'm trying to say is, can I even get angry with her for 'stealing' water? I've got this solar pumping 10,000 litre tank of water that I'm irrigating 3 acres (and giving about 4000 litres a day to the community) with, and she's just trying to keep her bloody banana trees, and sweet potatoes alive. 

It's tough to relate, my country, Canada, didn't go through 20 years of civil war, recruit child soldiers, have the highest concentration of NGO's of any country in the world, and of course where I come from you get down on one knee and offer up an African diamond to the woman (not girl) you want to marry! 

Oh yeah, all that and I don't have just one pair of shoes, I brought four.


I feel it's important to say, I work with a handful of the people of this nation each day and man do we have some fun! We struggle to communicate at times and I'm pretty sure some of the times our goals don't align but most of the time they do, we're just some people trying to make it through the day, farming, and trying to have some fun.


It's real, it's raw and I'm loving it!


P.S. Stay tuned as this month I'll be building a school garden in the nearby town of Bbaale, I look forward to sharing that experience with you.


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