The community spirit lives on... Yesterday we were in Ihandiro hills of Kasese district, 0.0km from the DRC boarder. When we reached the top of the hill, we left the 4x4 cars to proceed while we slowed followed on foot from behind the Rwenzori mountain passage of Ihandiro. I looked into the distance; I could see the lush green dotted with aluminium roofs shining back at me, the total view should have been 1000km – in one word, it was “magnificent” it felt like Moses starring into the promised land; on the left was Uganda and right was the mysterious Congo. But it was possibly the power of working together that the women exhibited that was my best moment. They collectively worked the mud into the mould, they happily worked on two energy efficient cookstoves in a space of 15 minutes. They carried babies on their backs while the others carried babies in their womb. It was a poor community, but the joy they had on their faces was infections. They may not have had smart phones, no slizzy dollar notes in their pockets, but they had something that many of us lack these days; they had hope, joy, generosity and above all they had a strong community spirit. They were making energy efficient cookstoves for each other. I stole a moment from our group to stare in bewilderment to the amazing mountain landscape – the question came to me slowly – what if I lived here, how would life be? I would charge my phone three times a week and would walk 20km return each time; I would have to collect water 10km from the valley below and up the hill; I would wake to each morning to work my coffee garden and my children would walk-barefooted 15km return to the nearest school. My wife would be belong to a women’s group and she would save with them UGX 500 (USD$ 0.2) each week. When darkness comes, I would light a kerosene lamp and when that stubborn rat would knock it down once in a while, my entire house and assets would go up in flames. The land that I till would decrease in productivity, because it is very steep and I would know little about agroforestry or other land-management techniques. I would be poor but each time elections come, I would vote the leader I hear people talk about on radio because his agents gave me soap and sugar on election eve. But I would be happy and when I would receive visitors from Kampala and others from abroad, I would get my two months savings and cook them the best rice meal as those women did...it doesn’t matter for deep in my heart I would remain rich, full of hope and full of joy... even though I felt a certain guilt as I ate what could easily have been their two months savings, I knew it would have been worse if I had turned down their invitation to share in the meal. For the community spirit is strong and lives on... Robert Ddamulira.
Posted on: Sun, 16 Jun 2013 04:17:17 +0000
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