Cabbages and Crafts
Monday the VTT training team went to work. Tim and Dick toured many fields with the HANDS Uganda (Agriculture) team. We got a great overview of the types of crops they are growing and their successes and challenges. One exciting visit was to a new demonstration garden where the villagers had planted 13 different vegetables, most of them new to the area. This effort was a result of a community based health promotion program introduced in September by ACT called HEAL. One of the primary concerns identified nutrition deficiencies as a concern due to limited variety in the local diet. Another NGO, Hope Seeds, provided the seed. The goal is that one day, every family has a garden. In the afternoon we worked together to think about the growing process and identifying improvements for the next crop cycle based on the results of the last.
The other main activity was Diana and Sue working with the beaders, weavers and sewers. About 45 village women who work in these areas came to the ACT center. They learned more about the process of bringing their handiwork to market in the U.S. and what items are most in demand there. New patterns were introduced for the sewers and planning began to bring a trainer to Uganda to teach them additional sewing skills. Those who have had difficulty with vision while doing their close work received reading glasses donated in the U.S. The handicrafts the women had produced since ACT's last visit were purchased for sale back in the Uniquely Uganda store in Midland and two other stores in Traverse City and Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.