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Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda - 2012

Drying Cassava, a root vegetable, on a farm.

5th June

Had a busy old day today. Didn't travel too far, but the roads we were on weren't exactly top notch..... those of you who have been up to Uldale will have some idea what I mean. These were back dirt roads so it wasn't a surprise, but they certainly test your fillings. Daniel our driver missed out on a career as a rally driver. He might even harbour a desire to be one for all I know. He can certainly handle the big Land Cruiser on these surfaces.... foot down as much as you can and ride over the smaller bumps, and swerve around the bigger bumps. It's great as far as I'm concerned, although I not sure approaching motorcyclists or pedal pushers will see it my way perhaps!

We were visiting a group 15km away who have been in the send a cow program for around 3 years so it is interesting to see how they are getting on and how it is helping. They have had their cows around a year now so are reaping the benefits of milk, both through personal health and wealth.

The first farmer had a crossbreed Ayrshire cow which was giving around 9 litres of milk a day, of which they were using 2 litres themselves and selling the rest, getting 45 schillings a litre, which is around 40p, if my sums are correct (They might not be....wouldn't be first time!), but certainly more than dairy farmers are getting back home, and with less inputs too. They utilise the manure too, using it as a fertiliser, applying it as a liquid to each seed as they plant, and more applications through the growing season. Many of the group members were getting crops double in yield, which has the obvious result of more food and also extra to sell.

You have to wonder why they didn't already know all this, but as a result of AIDs/HIV which has seen a generation wiped out, and still is a dark shadow over the continent, many practices have been lost via family displacement etc. that's probably simplistic view and there are many other factors too, but it is sad to see undernourished children and families, especially when you see the quality of the soil in some of these places.

I am not claiming to be an expert but I think there is massive potential in African agriculture which needs unleashing, especially with the world population growing so fast, and it's good to be a small part in helping this happen.

When we got back to the hotel in Bumala (well I think that's where are, I'm not sure, but that's what is printed in the front of the Gideons bible in my room so that's what I'm going on... if that's not right when I double check, blame the Gideons!) Back to Bumala anyway, I went for a wander around town with my camera.. maybe not the wisest idea. I don't seem to be able to blend in somehow over here on the street. Don't know why that might be.

Anyhow I had a potter about, got a few pictures but not the easiest when people are wanting money from you cos they feel hungry. I just told them I was from Yorkshire, which seems to be understood the world over. You can see beggars crossing the road to avoid you when the news travels on ahead. They know there's no chance of getting money out of your pockets and know you will try and get some out of theirs at same time. Don't tell me I never give any good travel tips!

I may have been a little harsh on our hotel in last nights update, so I thought I maybe better review the situation, just in case any of you dear readers were thinking of popping down this way for a weekend break. Service was quicker tonight, but still not sure how it can take half an hour to make a cheese toastie, especially when there are no others in restaurant either. But hey ho, the beds comfortable, even if it does have nylon sheets and covers, which create static. Not joking, I ran my hand over the sheets in the dark and you could see sparks of static. I was terrified to move... was convinced I would become a victim of spontanous combustion. I lay in bed not daring to move in case I ignited the bed! Was ready to jump out at a moments notice, but figured it wouldn't be worth the struggle as I would doubtlessly get tangled up in the mozzie net anyway! Not ideal for a greats night sleep, but gives a whole new meaning to being hot in bed!

But as you have probably surmised I didn't go up in flames, and tomorrow we move on to Uganda, staying in Mbale if you want to check it out. Mbales claim to fame is that it has featured in the start of one of the recent James bond films... not sure which one. Check it out. All that is as long as I'm not reduced to small pile of smouldering ash by the morning! Over and out.

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