Posted by Cory Richardson about 8 years ago
The Life in Africa Context
Outside of Uganda’s capital Kampala, where the eastern border of the city blurs into messy suburban sprawl, a rocky hill has offered 25 years of refuge to 10,000 of the people who fled Joseph Kony’s rebel war in Acholiland, about 400 kilometers to the North. Known locally as the Acholi Quarter, Kireka hill is also home to one of the city’s largest stone quarries, which offers low paid and back-breaking employment to hundreds of traumatized hillside residents.
Twenty five years ago, the local king of the Buganda tribe offered Kireka hill to the Acholi people who were fleeing from the north, for as long as they needed a safe place to stay. Since the rebel attacks stopped seven years ago, the people here have been trying to figure out how to scrape together enough resources to move their families home.
In mid 2013, Acholi Quarter residents were informed that the land they are living on has been sold for commercial development. Though going home is what they have dreamed of, that hope is now infused with the very real fear that these fragile families will once again be forcibly displaced. In recent months there has been some unrest…. whether they have the money to move or not, it’s now really time to go home.
Once a week for the past several years, 35 women who live in the Acholi Quarter gather at the small Life in Africa (LiA) community center near the bottom of the hill. They bring in products made from paper beads to fill orders from abroad and to sell at their small community shop. They learn and practice new skills like sewing together, they save small weekly amounts of money together, and they support each other through life’s challenges.
More than anything these days, the LiA ladies plan together for the very complex and expensive challenge of rebuilding their destroyed homes and farms in the empty countryside 400 km away, so they can finally move their families back.
The above is from a pledge drive to raise funds for the project, which you can learn more about here: http://startsomegood.com/lifeinafrica.
I first got involved with Life in Africa back in 2008 when I visited their center in Gulu, Northern Uganda to donate sewing machines, teach how to make hammocks and then took home $3000 in paper beads to raise more funds for their work. A corrupt manager of the project stole $2000 of the bead money, and that center ended-up closing and the sewing machines were taken back down to the Acholi Quarter in the south. The following two years I returned teach the ladies how to sew hammocks and got involved in other projects. I would love to go back anytime... and this new center could be a reason to do so.
Ugandans are beautiful hard working people-- especially the women! They can provide for their families from the land, and will benefit from learning permaculture design. I took my PDC in Uganda and know some people with this knowledge who live there, however I want encourage anyone with permaculture skills seeking a mission to contact Peter at Life in Africa to assist the building of the new center in the north.
I am currently not planning to lead a permaculture project in Northern Uganda, but those who have time and feel called can contact Peter through email: ndelos4lia
I will be glad to offer any support or information if you want to contact me: [email protected] or https://www.facebook.com/corazon.richardson
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|Permaculture Design -|
|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course|
|Verifying teacher: Jesse Lemieux|
|Other Teachers: Aaron Elton|
|Location: Dway, Kampala, Uganda|
|Date: Mar 2010|