by KareMeKuc co-founder Max Clary
Hello friends, family, and supporters of KareMeKuc!
I apologize for having taken so long to write to you all. I had fallen ill shorty after arriving. I was attending a local wedding and after many festivities and traditions, the hosts brought around buckets of local brew called malwa (pronounced mah-roo-ah). Malwa is essentially a millet beer that is in the process of fermenting. Being the curious and maybe a little short-sighted person that I am, I decided to try some. After days of sickness I learned that this brew makes every first-timer sick, including Ugandans. Afterwards, several Ugandans told me that even they don’t drink it. Experienced gained, lesson learned, and I am now better for it. You can trust I will stay far away from malwa from now on.
I will write this post following the same structure as my postings last year; I will start with an update for the project, and if you care to know more about me personally, you may read on. Please forgive some of the redundancies in all of the project updates we give. Some details will be same but these posts will hopefully allow you to view our work transparently through all of our different perspectives.
As for the project, things are rolling on steadily but slowly as was expected when operating on “Ugandan time.” On one hand, we have been delayed almost a week in starting our pilot program. We now have an agreed on and clear date for our community meeting and program commencement which will be tomorrow, on Friday, May 26th. On the other hand, this delay has allowed for many long discussions with CPU about how we can make this agricultural program have the most impact and long-term success possible. I believe what we have gained in this week has far exceeded the time we have lost. It is my hope that these are just the kinks that need to be worked out in every pilot program and there will be many successful iterations of this program because of the time we are taking now.
In addition, due to my illness, I have had a chance to step back and see how our CPU and KareMeKuc team works and I could not be more proud to stand behind them. Nellie and Seren’s work ethic and keen minds are a gift to this program and the world at large. I am very excited to continue to work and observe the impact we make here.
I want to start my personal reflection with the predominant feeling I woke up with today: gratitude. Initially the gratitude came because I was not soaked in sweat and racked with a fever of 102 for the first time in three days. However, as I listened to the village weavers (a type of bird) singing and the roosters crowing, I reflected more deeply on the open arms I have run into since arriving in Uganda. This started with the kindness of a stranger who directed Seren and I to a delicious local restaurant in Entebbe, a city neither of us know very well. After arriving in Lira, I quickly found I was not forgotten by my friends and even by some distant acquaintances. Since arriving I have spent many afternoons having tea with Mama Rose or dinner with Isaac and his family or sitting down for lunch with our CPU and KareMeKuc team. In addition, after becoming very sick, Seren, Nellie and Saskia sacrificed much of their time and peace of mind to make sure I was okay. For those who know me well, you know it is not an easy thing for me to allow others to take care of me but they persevered, and for that I am deeply grateful.
Over the past week, I have felt as if love has surrounded me, wrapped me in her arms and told me, “you are important to so many.” All of the letters and emails that I have received before embarking to Uganda continue to bolster this message. So, I want to thank you all for the never-ending love and support, in my heart, I know I deserve it. I am thinking of all of you, and wish you could feel the sweet sunshine on your face, or the bursting juices of perfectly ripe mangos, or the romantic calls from the many varieties of birds overhead. I will keep you updated and please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below or send us a message. Apwoyo matek (thank you very much).