Mr. Okello, the richest man in my village is a smallholder farmer practising mixed farming. He cultivates mainly temporary cash crops like: cassava, millet and maize; and vegetables like boyo, abuga. Every plot of his land has fruits like mangoes, oranges, passion fruits, growing; whose leaves fall down, rot and decompose to provide manure for his gardens.
Mr. Okello, the Assistant Town Clerk of a district local administration, lives with his wife, Ann and four children. His wife and children each have a role to play in the farm. As he works three days a week, he spends the remaining days around his farm, ploughing and spraying his crops.
When he is away, at his job, his wife takes responsibility of planning, organising and directing labourers on what to do and how to do. And like some rural women do these days, every evening, Ann also sells mangoes, oranges, passion fruits, abuga, boyo by the roadside; while her husband goes to drink with friends.
During holidays, her children help in rearing layers and in providing labour on the farm; reducing expenditure on the labour force. Even though they do productive work on the farm, Mr. Okello is always very strict on his children – not allowing them to eat fruits and to harvest food without his permission. He says that this is in order to avoid wastage.
Everybody envies Mr. Okello’s family because he does not buy food. He harvests from his farm and sell to get income, in addition to his monthly earnings from his salary. He uses his income to buy clothes for his wife and children; pay school fees for the children; to access fairly good medical care for his family; and he still has surplus to spend on drinks.
Mr. Okello’s household is likely similar to the two households in our Innovators’ food basket estimates for our region, which spend Ug.Shs. 54,000/= (fifty four thousand shillings) on drinks per month.
But because of his ignorance on the importance of fruits in a diet, refusing his children to eat fruits from the trees in his garden. Mr. Okello’s household, like one of the households in our food basket estimates, consumes only Ug.Shs. 6,000 (six thousand shillings) per month on fruits.
By Gumkit Ann Parlaker, Innovator in First Cohort of CPAR Uganda programme: “Mentoring Young Adults into Innovators against Poverty”; and Volunteer Fundraiser with CPAR Uganda. Ann generated this story from the content of and discussions during the training sessions of Module I: Understanding Poverty in Rural Uganda of the CPAR Uganda programme. She essentially dramatized her learning and utilised her great skill of storytelling to demonstrate her understanding of the complex issues that were discussed during the training sessions. Read more about Ann here.