Saturday, June 16, 2012


It was a pretty low key week after that. Lots of language learning and just enjoying being around Kangole. One morning I went over to the home of my language helper and offered to help her dig her garden. Here is my journal excerpt from the end of the day:

6/9 What a day. Worth firing my computer up for at the end of it. I’m in Kangole and my day had nothing specific scheduled. I headed over to the house of my language helper and brought my hoe because it is the season of cultivating and it seems only fair that if I take an hour of her time I owe her some digging. I found her and her daughters and her granddaughters preparing to go to their field. Which is different than the garden. The garden is near the house, small, and has a variety of things in it. The fields however will be a lot of one thing and who knows how far from the house. Loving the idea of a little manual labor and a physical challenge instead of the mental one of just sitting and learning the past tense form of "fetch water" I told them sure.  45 minutes later we finally reach their field.
I’d like to paint a bit more of a picture for you. 9am. Sun already high in the sky. Maybe 90 degrees already. Me walking along with a 10 pound digging implement on one shoulder. EVERYONE we pass doing a double take of this white foreigner heading out to the fields. But apena. (Means: come and we go) We arrived at the field to find several children already busy working. Turns out they’ve been at it for two hours already. The field needs to be turned over and have the biggest weeds and thorn bushes taken out (the smaller ones get to stay). So, I took my place in the line. (In this picture my spot is the hoe that’s just sitting there.)
And even though these kids had worked two hours already they worked me under the table. As a matter of fact, of the only two I could keep up with one was 6 years old and the other was 68. Even the one with the baby tied on her back worked faster than me. Though when she had to stop to breastfeed I could catch up.

Our  first break time. After three hours of working, when I could have really gone for ice cream, or just a cup of cold water, turns out we get a piping hot mug of pourage made with a K-jung favorite, sour milk. Refreshing! The kids sucked theirs down. I had to work a bit at it. When we finally had the whole field ready for seeds we could start to plant. The kids paired up and one would chop a hole and the other dropped two peanuts in. Then the next pair, chopped a new hole, using the dirt to cover the seeds of the first pair. And so on for all 8 of us. Really very efficient. But don’t slow down or you will be run over by the next pair who is sure to be faster than you. And don’t run out of seeds or while your partner runs back to get more or the next crew will be filling in your seedless holes. And don’t swing weakly so that you have to swing again as you will hit the head of your little partner who has already bent down to seed the hole as clearly his former partner never was tired or weak.
These two were as slow as me and my partner and I when I had the hoe and their combined age was 13. 
This was the pair to beat as we raced. 
Our second break at 12:45 with the sun beating down, we are all sweaty and filthy, and finally they look tired too! But there is no shade to rest in.  Early on as I flipped over sod a little field mouse came out of it. As he ran off the kids started screaming at me. I soon learned that I was supposed to beam him over the head so we could cook him up afterward for a snack with all the other little field mice that we captured. Now I know. I had to turn down their offer of sharing with me when they started to build a fire.  I can’t remember my excuse but I’m sure it was a good one.
This was my cut of the spoils
About midafternoon they were finally calling it a day so we left most of the kids there in the field with their rat nuggets still on the fire and we headed back but by then it was an hour walk. I needed a cold shower and some shade. And some substance to eat that didn’t include sour milk or mice bits.
The ones who opted out of the post snack
headed home.
Unfortunately my day went a bit downhill from there as I got back home and it was pointed out to me that I have a very broken shock and possibly a spring too and I really shouldn’t go back to Soroti until that is fixed. Kangole doesn’t have a mechanic or any place to get parts so Monday I’ll have to head up to Moroto to see what can be done for it.  I guess I'll be staying a bit longer....

No comments: