Okukuza Amagezi has been getting busy over the last few weeks with the projects moving along well. In this update, I’m going to write a few notes about the fruit and veg initiative that’s been bubbling away recently. Our brilliant team of volunteers have been working their socks off and have managed to interview around 70 local farmers one-on-one over the last couple of weeks, sussing out what they grow, when they harvest, what they used to grow, other useful info and working out possible opportunities for a fruit and veg cooperative for the community.
Dotted amongst the green fertile hills of Southern Bwindi grows a little plant that we think may be bubbling with big potential. Coffee.
Once upon a time back in the 1960’s the Ugandan government together with an international organisation handed out coffee seedlings to some of the local people here – it grew well in this environment, but that’s where it stopped.
Big shout out to Big Beyond conservation volunteers for the great strides made in Uganda recently – we’re really excited about how the projects are evolving. Nice work. It makes us happy involving volunteers with such initiative and passion. Here’s a little update on the consevation projects over there.
Yes indeed, more weeks have dashed past us here in the UK and as ever such an enormous amount has happened at the Big Beyond sites out in Africa, it’s hard to sum it all up to be honest and never fails to amaze. So noted, expect more regular snippets from now on!!
For now I want to firstly tell you a little bit (or perhaps quite a lot!) about how one very inspirational woman (Cheryl) travelled all the way from Australia to join the Big Beyond team in Uganda for just three weeks and brought seriously admirable passion and experience to the local women that she described as “resilient, loyal and inspirational”.
Spent the last couple of weeks under many different mango trees, having many many many community meetings. Ouch, we’re pretty exhausted over here right now, but it’s all good! Big Beyond Malawi has definitely taken a great leap forward and we’re really excited having formed new partnerships with two lovely yet genuinely underprivileged communities on the borders of Liwonde National Park. One of them has a female chief actually which is generally unheard of here : ) She’s quite a character. And an upshot on top of our excellent new partnerships and mango tree meeting rooms, is there’s a lot of opportunities on the horizon with mangos!
Ok, so our goal at every Big Beyond site is to integrate the conservation of a threatened national park with the sustainable development of its adjacent communities. Within that, there are a number of projects across education (kids and adults), the natural environment, enterprise, health and culture.
“We don’t really know how to sum it all up but it was an amazing experience and one that we can’t really articulate to others apart from saying – ‘go try it and see for yourself because then you’ll understand’. Our only hope is that the people we came into contact with gained at least half as much from our meeting as we did. If they did then we can say “mission accomplished” and thank you Big Beyond.” (Pete & Jenny June 2012)
“I hope that they will realise the importance of planning and learning that no matter how much money you have, that you can always save a little and plan for the future, and look at your past and know that it doesn’t always dictate your future” (Christina, Big Beyond volunteer Uganda April-May 2012)
I wandered to the bus station at 4.30am in the dark and found my bus. It’s amazing how busy it can be at that time! Every bus leaves at the same time which is hugely sensible as there’s only one small exit gate to leave the bus depot but hey?!!! Queues.
“If other people got out of it as much as I got out of it, then I’m a happy person… and if there’s a better person inside you, it will certainly bring it out” (Sven, Big Beyond volunteer: March – April 2012)