Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rural Home-stay


For the past week I have been in the Kapchorwa district of Uganda at my rural homestay.  For seven days I was virtually cut off from the rest of the world (I had no phone, no internet, and hardly any interaction with my pale skinned buddies I like to call white people, and Manni) while I immersed myself in the culture and lifestyle of the rural Ugandan.

On Friday the 23rd of October we set out on the five hour journey to eastern Uganda.  As we drew near our destination, the landscape suddenly changed from extremely flat to vastly mountainous as we climbed the slopes of Mt. Elgon. 



Soon we entered a land of grass thatched and mud walled huts.  More and more we saw people tending herds of goats, cows, and the occasional pig.  More shocking than the lifestyle of its inhabitants was the land itself.  It was perhaps one of the prettiest places on earth.





Anyway so we finally arrived in the area, and we began dropping people off.  I was second one to get dropped off.  I grabbed my bags and went to meet my family.


My family was great!  They were so friendly and loving.  I really felt like part of the family, well a pampered member of the family anyway but I didn’t mind.  Here they are!


That is my mom Doreen to my left, my father Lt. Fred (he is in the army), and the other two guys Fred and Robert worked for my family and they showed me around all the time.  The smallest one is the young girl who helped look after Doreen’s kids.  In addition to these folks, had a young baby brother…


Jonathan was a freakin cute baby who never wore pants which is why I never held him (I didn’t want to be peed on).  I also had a younger sister…


Charity was almost three, and she was also cute.  However, she was a spoiled brat (that is look she usually had on her face; it says “Get the heck away from me fool! I’m eating”) and she was super shy of me but I made friends with her so we cool.

I wish I could write everything that occurred during these seven days but I’m only going to include a few instances; if i wrote everything it would take forever.  These instances include working on a coffee plantation and attending a crazy funeral.

Everyone in the area owned coffee, and my family was no exception.  My family actually owned a lot of land and almost every plot had coffee trees.


While I was there I got to pick the coffee…



Then we took basins full of picked coffee…


And then I got to use this machine to kind of shuck the coffee…


We skipped a few step in between; usually you have to wash the coffee beans and then thresh multiple times to remove the bad ones but I skipped right to drying the coffee beans…


Of course throughout this entire process I was carefully watched…


…just to make sure I didn’t mess up lol.

I was kind of sad though because I didn’t get to make a cup of coffee but I went over to my friend Davis’ (another student) and had a cup that he made (it was actually kind of good…way better than McDonald’s…someone needs to send me a Big Mac).



So I promised to talk about the crazy funeral I went to so buckle up for my crazy story…

Anyway, the second day of my rural home-stay I went to this funeral (a distant relative of my family had died).  It started out as a normal funeral, well beside the wailing women.  There was this one old woman who was yelling and hitting herself in the stomach and she just went on and on (she stopped for a smoking break).  That was odd but interesting, but it soon got very interesting.  A man gave a eulogy in which there was no attempt to cover up the deceased’s drinking problem.  In fact, it was pretty much the theme of the eulogy.  Afterwards, the wife of the deceased was called forward to shed light on the details of his death (apparently they weren’t sure how he died…even though he died after coming home drunk the day before).  She spoke in the vernacular so I couldn’t understand but she didn’t sound sad at all.  She sounded really angry and at the end of her speech she kind of stormed off.  Then a man came forward and started talking about how if a man and wife slept in separate bedrooms something was wrong.  His words were pretty harsh and he seemed to be accusing the widow of neglect… or worse.  Next a woman who was a friend of the widow came up and spoke, but one of the first things she said was, “when a man dies they always blame the wife.”  Strange.  The next man to speak topped them all.  He was loud and said that it is usually women who kill their husbands.  What????  He went on to say that men need to stop women from killing their men!  What is going on?! (this is what I thought to myself)  Yeah so he was accusing her of murder.  I was getting kind of nervous and expecting things to turn ugly, but apparently this kind of thing is common.  Shortly after this we left.

The time I spent with my amazing family was awesome.  I have to say that rural life is way better than city life.  People are just nicer.  Sadly, my stay did end but before heading back to Mukono we got to spend a few days at this really cool resort.  We got to go hike to all these beautiful waterfalls.  It was pretty cool.






Well that’s about all for this adventure but here are a few more pics that I really like:











  1. The funeral story is really funny and interesting...nothing like an American funeral where no matter how rotten you might have been they always say nice things about you. I actually think I like the honesty of the African funeral better. They just tell it like it is.
    W O W!!! I love some of those pictures you took. When you get back if you could e-mail me a few so I can blow them up and frame them, that would be great!
    We wish you the very best blessings as we near Thanksgiving time.
    = ) Holly's Parents

  2. Thanks for posting all those beautiful pictures. You and Holly still seem to be holding up well and that's good to see. I'm glad you've gotten to see all these amazing things and meet all these interesting people. Wow as well on the funeral. I agree with Holly's parents. It would maybe help people to lead a better life if they knew people were going to be honest at their funerals!. Love you tons and say hi to Holly.
    Love, mom.

  3. DUDE!!!!!!!! YOUR NEW african adventures heading shot is sooo sick man! that is well done! way to go dude!
    Austin Crowder

  4. Dean. super cool photos. I hope you grabbed that little girl baby to being home for me. love you, miss you.