We had a fabulous day on Thursday! Firstly we packed up all our things and loaded them into the van (very appropriately named Ruby by Sue as a tribute to her Mum - she will always be a part of Suubi now) before we headed out onto Lake Bonyonyi in a locally made canoe. Annette and Yvonne went in one while David and I went in another.
Annette and Yvonne take in the misty Lake Bonyonyi.
Two local guides expertly rowed the very unstable vessels, but as we got further out into the lake they told us that the wind was too great and the conditions would be dangerous if we continued out into the open water. We decide to head for one of the islands so we could get out and look at the abundant bird life there. This proved to be a strike of luck because while we were there we discovered the resorts very clever toilets and hot water showers that we now hope to replicate at Suubi!
The westernised pit latrine! What a great idea!
David inspected the fire-powered hot water service. Click here to donate to a Suubi hot water service!
After the excitement of the morning we left Lake Bonyonyi behind us and headed towards Mbarara. David was very keen for us to look at a mushroom growing project he had visited the day before while we were in Rwanda. After being there a short time I very quickly realized why he had been so excited. Peace Byandusya, who just happens to be Ishmael's older sister, has set up an unbelievable centre where they are teaching local farmers how to grow mushrooms. It is in fact a very simple process that requires very little capital to get started and can provide a good income very quickly to the farmer. Peace, along with a young Swiss lady by the name of Matina have not only established the training centre but also have forged a market for both fresh and dried mushrooms. They are also looking into developing an export market. Currently they have more that 500 farmers producing for them and hope that number will grow to 2000 by the middle of 2010. It was so exciting to see such a wonderful project that is being driven by such an inspirational Ugandan woman. Well done Peace!
Ishmael, Peace, Myself, David and Martina.
This is definitely something David and I both feel could be incorporated at Suubi. We could have a demonstration area where people from the local community could come to learn the required skills to set up there own mushroom farm. (Kabale where Peace's centre is many 100's of miles from Lubanda village) Then they could tap into the market that has already been established. It really fits perfectly with lots of programs we are hoping to run at Suubi including 'agri business', 'nutrition and early childhood development' and 'training to becoming financially independent.'
After leaving the mushroom project we made a stop over at Ismael's Mum and Dad's house which was lovely. It was terrific to meet them and see where he and his 9 brothers and sisters grew up. His mum had prepared us a beautiful meal of irish potatoes and mushrooms that Peace had grown. Even though we couldn't speak the same language I could tell how proud they were of their children and how excited they were to have us visit them.
It was great to spend some time with Ishmael's family!
After staying in Mbarara on Thursday night we headed back to Kampala on Friday so that we could get Yvonne to the airport on Saturday afternoon for her return to Australia. After a morning at the craft markets we made sure she was safely on to plane. Then on Sunday I took a day to recover at the Kampala back packers while Annette headed to Ngamba Island to see the chimpanzees.
A wild Chimp at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
I certainly didn't think that a little over a week ago that it would just be Annette and I returning to Suubi! As I've said all along though, "you just have to go with the flow!" Although the others have returned back to Austraila I feel like they are still right here beside us. I can't wait to share with you all the exciting things that happen at Suubi over the coming week.
Love to all you HUGgers out there
HUGs from Helen