It was Nyerology to intern at St.Jude Family Project an Organic Farm which is found in Busense-Masaka District! I was to get on the ground with Mrs.Namubiru Sharon. I take you back a bit, in 2011; with the fact that I had met lots of challenges I had never in my life in this year, in 2012 there wasn’t anything to give me a new hope and a happy life like me interning at St.Jude! When I first heard of this intenership program, actually I was at school and I really felt so happy and amazed. And to me I felt like putting back fish into the pond or challenging the challenges I faced later year, here I was getting back up. And this made me prepare really early that I would never be late to get on the ground in case I was told to get there just any time right from the time I was I heard of it! But my dearest Michelle and Hellen kept on updating me on how far they had so far gone with organizing up everything about the Intenership such as negotiating how much to be pay to the Judes. So each day, I would believe that one day and time I would be at St.Jude that with my patience, it actually reached and the here down I bring out life at Jude which to me was actually different and unique from that while doing my Permaculture Design Certificate Course in 2010.
On 17th January, both Sharon and I had to put on shoes and head to St.Jude Family Project “a Rural Training Centre for Intensive Interacted Organic Farming”. We boarded off the Taxi from Mukono-Kiwanga Home to meet Auntie Winnie who was just on a wait to guide us up to the Project. It seemed that lots of people were heading Kampala that early morning and it was at around 9:10am that we got into the Taxi for Kampala after a several minutes of waiting on the highway. We got to Taxi Park where we had to look for Auntie Winnie who had already boarded a Mini-Bus that was to fly with us up to Masaka. With all blessings received from Michelle in my small Chiness mobile phone as text messages, made the journey really safe and I enjoyed myself watching the beauty scenery of green pasture, landscape features and many others that were along the Kampala-Masaka highway.
After such a long drive, we reached a point of drop out of the Mini-Bus to St.Jude; we had to board another mean of transport that would drop us to the Project. So each one sat behind a Boda-Boda (motorcycle) and we were rode all through the uneven patch on the road-bumpy road and humpy road up to Jude. We got there at around 1:56pm and were directed to reception room, waited a bit for Dativa who was to welcome us but was not around by then. Later on Dativa published herself before us and Auntie Winnie had to hand us over to the Judes who were now concerned of our being on the ground. As they were organizing rooms as well as preparing lunch for us, Dativa briefly informed us with the History of St.Jude which I won’t talk about in this story. Very soon, as my clock was reading 2:00pm, we were given Lunch which was really great. I got myself with my luggage to my arranged room which if I compare with that of Sabina Bandas I knew some years back, Bandas were far better but that didn’t give me stress because all the desire I had was of learning new ideas in Sustainable Agriculture or call it Organic Farming.
We both realized that each one of us was missing a note book and each had to be at least with one that he/she could use when noting down some important points. So we had to get a shop where to buy note books from and this took us back through the bumpy road up to the highway where there is a small trading Center. I came back so tired that I was forced to take nap before the late evening. Getting up from the nap, I heard someone knocking on my door and that was a call for evening tea. And that was my first evening at St.Jude.
To know the lifestyle of any community, one has to join that community first. So I personally was at Jude and I know them well.
It was dry season or call it summer; so it was daily waking up early in the morning to water vegetables as morning tea would be on preparation before having the morning lectual or call it lessons that were taken by Mr.Ntambazi Richard.
During the day, the huge trees all over the compound could provide the loveliest shade that could refresh the weather and temperature condition hence making life at Jude enjoyable and interesting. But only nights could give me worries because the room temperature could raise high at night. This always made my nights un-enjoyable because I always felt like am in a Sauna being heated. The unbearable conditions of warm nights could always force me to throw away the blanket so as to get fresh air but again Mosquitoes that I preferred to as Jet Fighters could also be alert hunting for blood. So I always had to choose either to be in the Sauna or be stung be the Mosquitoes which could later cause Malaria. And I always choose to take cover under the blanket which is sauna because I knew very well that Malaria prevention is better than cure.
The Judes, shown us the highest respect in all aspects that I had never experienced in my life, and I was too obedient to their instructions and rules. I loved living around the kids and the workers at the project who were so respectful though I felt it was too much for someone to greet me while kneeling down as female did and boys could really show total respect which on my side I felt it was beyond and I thought they were just fearing me. So almost every morning I always had to tell them that we are just a like and instead am not special.
“Good luck, have fun and learn heaps”, as Michelle had wish. Sure I had fun alongside learning heaps during my two weeks in an Organic Farm.
So these are what I learnt; under Master Ntambazi Richard, I added on my learning about soil and soil fertilization, soil and water conservation and it practical was so interesting as quoted in Kiswahili “Fanya Chini and Fanya Jju”. Also piled one of the biggest compost manure heaps and turned the already piled. I went on making liquid manure and made manure tea. I went through vegetable growing lectures and did it practically setting up different vegetable gardens, I did Integrated Pest Management. I learnt banana establishment and went through it practically, cassava and maize growing with did it practically. I learnt different designs of nursery bed establishment and seed security even practically. I went on with Tree planting and grafting and did practical on grafting which excited me too. Here comes Post harvest, handling harvest and Additional value where I learnt juice and Wine making practically. Sure these were my special weeks at St.Jude adding pumping my mind with Organic Farming!! And I feel confident enough to share it with anyone out there who would love to learn and solve up anything related to Organic Farming.