It’s two days to go here in Lira!!
Today of course started with the usual routine of breakfast, devotions and reflective learning; then a brief session on farm records by our soft-spoken instructor Lydia, whose patience and kindness has really blessed us this past week. The farm records session included teaching us on how to record farm information in the four areas of production, marketing, finance and management/administration. Lydia then gave us a quick class assignment before we went out for our break and got ready to head out to the field for the Lorena making, a practical lesson.
The Lorena stove is an energy saving stove that Send A Cow has introduced to most farmers under their programs. It saves on firewood, which is really what the people need because most families have to go into the bush or even forest to collect for cooking purposes. We set out to the field immediately after our tea break and it turned out we were going to the Dokolo district, about 40km away from Lira town. Our peer farmers as usual went on with their “senior talks” while I listened quietly to my music. After about 45 or so minutes of driving, we got to Tom’s home, the Send A Cow peer farmer who was going to take us through the Lorena making practical. It was clear that Tom was a successful Send A Cow peer farmer because there were small vegetable gardens on his compound, a tip tap by his latrine, very nicely made mud couches and of course a Lorena stove!! He was also such a good timekeeper!
We got there a little later than the time Send A Cow communicated to him so he totally went on with his own business outside of his home. We had to send someone to find him when we got to his house. Time keeping is definitely one of the values we would absolutely love for all the beneficiaries of the CRESS programmes to have.
Tom didn’t want to waste anymore time so he immediately started to give us instructions and within a few minutes, one group was cutting potato vines, another was fetching water and the last one was digging out clay from an ant hill. Soon after, we started to pound the vine and mix the clay and soil together. To be honest, it was quiet tough mixing everything together to obtain the perfect result for the Lorena making and it took at least an hour or so, but we also had lots of fun jumping up and down on our mixture of clay, sand and potato vines (hoping not to slide and fall of course), singing the local kuku songs and just goofing around.
Esther Israel was the most impressive, working really hard and keeping very positive to the very end! She is also such a strong woman! It was soon time to build our stove so Tom showed us how to throw the balls of our mixture of clay, sand and potato vines firmly to the ground and in no time, we had built a 1ft high Lorena stove!! The rest of the process involved making the holes for the firewood and saucepans and for the smoke to escape. Within 4 hours, we were done building our Lorena stove and were very pleased with our work.
We then went back to the visitors resting shed and introduced ourselves before having a delicious meal of sweet potatoes, beans and meat, which Tom’s wife had prepared. After a few more chats with Tom’s family, we got into our van and drove 40kms back to our hotel. Am not sure who on our team had dinner at the hotel that night, but I remember going to my room, taking a quick shower and dozing off. The next time I woke up, it was 6:00am of the 18th and it was time to get ready for a new day!!