Hello. Here are a few things that I have been doing.
1. Yesterday I had a cartoon published in Cycling Weekly. The cartoon isn’t online yet, but will be at some point. You can find the magazine in your local newsagent (if you’re in the UK). I am pleased about this as it is the first one I have done for them and I have been trying to develop the cycling cartoon side of things. I started reading Cycling Weekly in my teens when I first did a bit of bicycle racing. Hopefully they will want me to do more.
2. My article about my week in Uganda is in this week’s Church Times, available today. It is online and you can read it here. Click the ‘slideshow’ button for the pictures that go with it. I am hoping I have communicated it well and that more people will want to support the work that Tearfund is doing as a result.
I do hope to get back to regular blogging at some point. In the meantime I am tending to update Twitter more often as it is easy to do. It is the place to find me should things of little interest be of great interest to you.
Posted by Dave at 11:17 am on March 22, 2013 and filed under My cartoons elsewhere.
Picture: The #tfbloggers at the source of the Nile on Sunday. From left to right: Odiira from PAG Uganda with Shane, Katie from Tearfund, me with awkward hands, Bex, Liz.
This might not be my final Uganda post, but I don’t have any others specifically planned, hence the title.
I have said this before, but I was incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity. I did my best with the blogging, and there is still, all being well, a Church Times feature to come, so hopefully I will have told the story as well as I can. Please forgive the ineloquent nature of this post – I know what I want to say but I’m not a very good writer.
I went back to the City of London today for the first time since being back. I can’t really imagine a greater contrast. Please excuse me if I drift into sentimental rubbish here, but… I hope I will continue to remember the people I met and everything I saw. I hope I will remember how lucky I am in so many ways – to have food and comfort and so many choices. I hope I will also remember how poor I am in so many ways – in the quality of many of my relationships with those around me, in faith, in friendliness, in determination.
I’d like to thank Tearfund for making it possible for us to go. For Holly, who did the organisation behind the scenes, and for Katie, who looked after us and put up with me and my various complications.
I have come away from this a believer in the Tearfund approach to development – that of working through local people and local churches. I’m sure other ways of doing things are valid too, but I liked what I saw and I can see that it works. In particular the ‘PEP’ concept, that of training people to make a change themselves using the little they have, rather than giving them things that they will then continue to need.
If you have found what I have written over the last ten days interesting and this is a kind of work you’d like to support, then you can do so via this page on the Tearfund website. And if you do so you will get updates from the community that we visited in Ogongora. There are many other locations where the same work is happening, but this is the place that is featured, (along with two others in Latin America and Asia), so that you can follow progress.
The tfbloggers page is still live if you want to catch up on other posts / tweets / pictures by the three of us – easy to remember link tearfund.org/dave.
Posted by Dave at 9:33 pm on March 7, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.
Warning: Don’t look directly at this picture as it depicts the sun. The picture was taken from a moving vehicle as we travelled from Jinja to Kampala on Sunday.
I have entitled this short message ‘real life calls’. For some the internet is real life, but it isn’t for me. At the moment I need to be elsewhere. I think it is unlikely that daily blogging will continue. Please forgive me if I do not reply to all of your comments, tweets and emails.
Posted by Dave at 9:32 pm on March 5, 2013 and filed under Blogging.
I’m now back home, but I’ve still got a Uganda blog post or two to go. Today’s is about food. OK, so this is essentially just some pictures.
Below: First of all: hand-washing. Before every meal that we had in the different villages we would be given a piece of soap and have water poured over our hands. This is very important in places where disease claims so many lives. But not a bad habit in any case.
Below: This was one of the lunches we had when we visited Ogongora. Rice, goat, chicken, some kind of greens, millet bread (looks a bit like playdough) and something else that I can’t quite remember.
Below: This is another lunch. The meats are once again chicken and goat, this time with chapatis. The people would normally only have meat on very special occasions, so it was a privilege to have it. We paid for these meals, so we were not depriving the people of this food.
Below: This is the meal being cooked. Bex had a look inside the kitchen and took some better pictures.
Finally, a tub of honey that had been collected from local hives. This came all the way back to Kampala with us in the van, along with a live chicken.
Posted by Dave at 9:38 pm on March 4, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.
We’re travelling back today, and probably won’t have a lot of internet access, so here’s one I prepared earlier…
At times on this trip I have asked myself whether we have only been shown a sanitised version of reality. In other words, have we just seen carefully pre-planned set pieces from people who are particularly enthusiastic about the work that is being done?
I think that yesterday’s final visit has demonstrated that this isn’t the case.
The plan for the day was to visit a different village and hear more stories about the PEP process (explanation in footnote at end of post). We arrived a bit earlier than expected, and there was then quite a lot of waiting around while a misunderstanding was cleared up. At some point a group had visited this church and had made some promises that hadn’t been met, and so there was some debate as to whether the people would be willing to talk to us about the PEP process, and we thought we might just be leaving again.
Eventually things seemed to be resolved, and so we heard some stories, and then went to three homes to see what had been described. I’ve posted pictures below, with descriptions underneath each picture.
Isaac took us to his brick-built house with a metal roof. This is the first such building we have been in in any of the villages. By growing crops and buying and selling cassava he has been able to get the house to a point where it is nearly finished.
Grace told us how she started her business with 800 shillings (about 20p). By making bread, then buying and selling fish she has got to the point where she is able to buy a cow (390000 shillings), which has given birth to two calves. Her quality of life is much improved – she joked with us about the choice of clothes that she is now able to wear.
John Julias is aiming to pay for university fees for his son by buying and selling groundnuts. He told us how hard it is for people in rural communities to send children to university. This shows his storeroom. The PEP process encourages people to be wise – building storage and waiting to sell produce until prices are high.
This was our final day visiting people. Today we head back to Kampala to catch the plane, and this post will hopefully post using advanced mechanisms.
Footnote/reminder about the PEP process as I keep using the phrase. It is a programme, coordinated by AOG and supported by Tearfund, that helps people improve their lives by using whatever very small resources they have, working with others and making good use of time. It is taught largely through role play – no handouts. This is my understanding anyway.
Posted by Dave at 7:00 am on March 3, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.
Astute readers will note that there have not really been many cartoons or indeed any kind of drawings from Uganda this week.
I could make excuses. Like the fact that there has been so much to see that I have preferred to spend my limited blogging time putting up pictures and posts rather than sitting and drawing. Or insist that I have also been rather hampered by my netbook computer, which has been, as feared, rather inadequate for the task. (It only has one gigabyte of memory which isn’t really enough to look at the internet with the couple of tabs I need to have open for blogging. I should really have bought a new computer.)
The one genuine excuse is that my mind has been elsewhere for valid reasons – this is not the place to explain, but some of you will understand.
But the truth is that I haven’t been able, so far, to meet the real challenge – finding ways to draw cartoons about the challenging issues I have been coming face to face with: poverty, inequality, how to rebuild your life from scratch, and so on.
Let me give an example of how some of the tricks that cartoonists normally use don’t really work in such a situation. One of the building blocks of humour, used by cartoonists, standups, and others, is exaggeration. Perhaps comparing two things and, for cartoonists, drawing one in an exaggerated way. On the face of it it might be possible to compare aspects of UK culture with aspects of life here in Uganda. But any such comparison would risk making Ugandan culture the butt of the joke, which is the last thing I want to do.
It is entirely possible to draw cartoons about very difficult subjects. Cartoonists do it all the time. But I haven’t managed it here. I have found it very hard to draw anything about my experience in Uganda without being seen, at some level, to mock what I have been seeing.
Poking fun at us, the western visitors, is easy. The notebook scribble above is an example of that. Oh – that is a mosquito net by the way. I could do more of the same, but that would be a way of avoiding the important issues.
Before I came here I was careful not to tell people that I would be cartooning, but rather described what I would be doing here as illustration. I have some ideas for illustrations which I hope to work on soon, but in their current form they are not really cartoons. I have, at the very least, failed to live up to my own expectations.
Please excuse a badly-expressed blog post. But writing it will hopefully help me with a longer article I need to write. Any thoughts on the whole subject would be welcomed. Please excuse a lack of reply if there is one, as I don’t yet know how much more internet I will have after this evening until we get back on Monday morning.
Picture: Cartoonist pretending to draw cartoons. The pop belonged to Liz, who kindly took the photo.
Posted by Dave at 7:03 pm on March 2, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.
I like this picture. Partly because it makes me smile, but also because it sums up the small business culture here in Uganda. UK football is huge here, and its associated sponsorships appear on TV continually. So why not get some free advertising for your phone top-up business?
There are no benefits for poor people here, so for most people in these rural communities, starting something yourself from more or less nothing is the only option.
Today we went to a village called Willa, (might be pronounced Wheel-uh – there is disagreement within our group), where the community have been going through the PEP process, supported by Tearfund, that I have been talking about on the blog this week. This effectively means being trained in starting their own businesses using whatever resources they have.
We went to a hot, lengthy, but inspiring meeting in the church (below) and heard a number of people telling us more about the particular businesses that they have begun (Liz has more on the individual stories).
The emphasis is on getting away from relying on free handouts and instead making change happen themselves. I have found it all incredibly inspiring.
The photos below are from our wander around in the village, and show the kinds of small businesses that people here might start.
Above: selling fruit and veg (There are four more market trader photos in my Uganda Flickr set – I asked whether I could take the pictures).
Above: bicycle repairs. Sorry – I can’t resist a bicycle picture as you will have noticed.
Finally: ‘Friends and Lovers’. Phone charging while you have a haircut, or a haircut while your phone charges. Either is fine.
Tomorrow is our final day in Soroti and our final visit to a village. Sunday will be spent driving down to Kampala before we catch a flight back to London overnight Sunday-Monday.
Posted by Dave at 7:28 pm on March 1, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.