This was a cartoon I did approximately 14 years ago. It could have been 13 or 15 years ago, I don’t really know. My 14-year-old cartoons were passable back then, but now I really don’t like the style, and, as someone wanted to use this image, it had to be redrawn. The high resolution version is here if you want to republish it (licence info).
I can hardly bring myself to post the original version.
14 years ago I had no idea that it would be used anywhere except possibly in a photocopied youth notice sheet. There are quite a few even older ones in the ‘cartoons’ section of this website. Sometimes I think I should remove them all, but people still enjoy them and I suppose they demonstrate a certain amount of progress. But if any are needed for anything important I will redraw them.
Do I have to? Oh, go on then. Original cartoon:
Posted by Dave at 6:17 pm on April 18, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.
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.
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.
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.
Time to put my degree in transport (you can see the certificate if you don’t believe me) to good use, and write about how people get around in Uganda. We experienced Kampala traffic on the first morning (pictured above) but most of the places we have been to have been rather more rural.
The heirarchy of transport appears to be: foot / bicycle / motorbike / transport shared with lots of other people. An example of the latter is shown above, though there are minibus taxis too (less photogenic). I quite liked the example below – one of many vehicles with Bible verses and the like on them. Exodus 3:7 is about freedom from oppression: “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.”
Many people ride bicycles, and use them to carry all manner of things. The picture below shows goats being carried – and yes, they are alive. Our driver, Joseph, asked the lady before I took this shot. Joseph thought it surprising that we find carrying live goats on the back of a bicycle unusual.
These children are using a bike to carry water in the yellow plastic cans that seem to be commonly used. I wonder how far they had to go.
This afternoon I had the opportunity to try riding a Ugandan bicycle. The picture (thanks to Bex) shows me giving Joseph a lift – ‘roles reversed‘, as Liz put it. The bikes are mostly very large and heavy with rod brakes and sprung saddles. They are the kind of bikes one might have had in the UK in the early 20th century. I imagine, though I couldn’t find any information online, that the design is from colonial days. But on these roads durable is more important than light.
For many of the people we have been meeting even owning a bicycle is something they can only hope to be able to do one day. This is where PEP, the process supported by Tearfund, comes in. Liz has explained what PEP is here, but in summary it is a programme helping people to see that change is possible if they make the most of what they have and work together with others in their communities.
Finally, and not especially related to transport at all, except that it is taken from one of our vans, an 11 second video I took this afternoon of children waving and running alongside us. They love to see vans and white people, both being somewhat of a rarity. (Click link to see video – trying to keep loading times down on the blog.)
Today we went to the church in Ogongora for the final time to join the people for a church service.
The singing was amazing. I have posted a video (which may or may not work) which I hope gives an impression, but in summary it was full of joy and life. This is not something I am used to. [Aside: we were told it was OK to use cameras in the service. Wouldn't normally do so...]
I’m not going to pretend I followed every word of the sermon, but one part of it was all about ‘borrowed things’, based on 2 Kings 6, Elisha and the axe. From my notebook: ‘Think of the things you have – are they yours? … Whatever God has given you – use it carefully’.
(This is the nearest thing you will find to a sermon on this blog, so if you come here for sermons make the most of it.)
There were other elements to the service – prayers, testimonies, Bible readings, (above) and whenever there was a gap another song was sung, each time seemly led by a different person without any (obvious) pre-planning. I really enjoyed participating, which is odd as I don’t really enjoy church services with overt displays of enthusiasm, clapping, etc, back home. I can’t really explain this.
All being well I’ll be back later with today’s blog posting, part II.
We were back at the village of Ogongora today. Some of the time was spent talking to people at the church – the photo above gives an impression of the surroundings. We drank tea and had food there too – I will write more about that another day.
Today I talked to three people who told me / us about the time in 2003 when they had to flee their villages during the occupation of the land by the LRA. One was our driver, Joseph, who told us some things, which I can’t really blog here, about how his uncle was killed. Then there was Pastor John (below). He described, from the villagers’ point of view, what it was like to have to flee because young people were being taken to be trained (if they survived, which many didn’t) as child soldiers. The people went to refugee camps, where sanitation was non-existent and there was no food. Some would come back to the village in the hope of harvesting their crops, but often those who did would be captured, tortured or killed. Hearing this story from three perspectives has brought home how much all of the people we are meeting have been through. When eventually they were able to come back to the village for good, the houses were burned, and they had to start again with nothing. This is where the PEP programme that I talked about yesterday comes in, to help people rebuild their lives. And this is why support for this kind of training for people in these situations is so important.
Part of the PEP programme has involved bringing the community together to decide on shared church goals. I heard from several of those responsible for working on these different projects. Most important (but not terribly photogenic) is the plan to drill a bore hole so that villagers do not have to walk a long way for water (and the water isn’t clean – 20 children a year die in the locality from diarrhea). A piece of land has been given for the purpose, some money has been raised, but there is now a wait for government money to come through. Other longer-term projects include a health centre and a new road. But in the next year or two it is hoped that a new church building with brick walls and a metal roof will replace the straw-roofed building that I have pictured above. Bricks (below) are being made by people in the village – this shows them in their pre-firing state. This is another good example of people doing things for themselves rather than waiting to be helped.
In the afternoon (actually, still before lunch, which happened at about 4pm) we visited Pastor Peter (below), who looks after a neighbouring church that has also undertaken the PEP programme. I suppose this emphasises that although we have seen one particular village, there are many many more where the same process is taking place. In the picture Peter is showing us the crops he has planted.
A final picture (below): children having their photo taken. We have taken many pictures of the children – they absolutely love it, and then love to see themselves in the picture on the back of the camera. You get the impression that they have rarely seen a camera before, though other Tearfund visitors have been, so I suspect we are not the first. Liz and Bex have many more pictures. We have also given them bubbles and balloons – great excitement in both cases.
I have entitled this post ‘hard lives’. It just seemed to me that these people have seen and experienced so much. I can’t really begin to imagine it. And yet they remain,on the whole and as far as I can tell, so happy and so hopeful.
Additional note: I’m aware that today my descriptions / photos are mainly of men. Liz and Bex talked to some women this morning – keep an eye on their blogs as I suspect they will write more about that soon (and click those links for more pictures of kids pulling faces). Oh, and a reminder – you can see all of our updates via the webpage tearfund.org/dave.
I have posted a set of my photos from Uganda on Flickr if you’d like to see them. They are mostly the ones posted on the blog, but there are a couple of extras.
Tomorrow we go back to the village, for the final time, for a church service. I suspect it will be unlike anything else I have experienced. Then, for the two remaining days in Soroti we will travel to two other villages to see what is happening there.
Posted by Dave at 8:35 pm on February 27, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.
Today has been quite remarkable. We had our first visit to Ogongora, the village in Uganda that we have come to see. There is so much to say about it, and I’d hoped to do some drawings, but technical woes and feeling generally overwhelmed means that not-particularly-eloquent writing and photos will have to do again.
First of all, a bit about the village and what is happening there. The people there returned from a refugee camp about five years ago, having been displaced due to fighting. They had to start more or less from scratch, and Tearfund have been working through a local partner, PAG (Pentecostal Assemblies of God), to introduce a programme that helps local communities to improve their lives. This happens by showing people that they can make changes and improve things themselves, rather than relying on handouts. Ogongora is an example of this process, but it has been happening in many other villages too. The programme is called PEP – I can’t remember what this stands for.
So, about our visit. Picture 1, above: Children show us their drawings. These were some of the children who greeted us as we arrived, each wanting to shake us by the hand. They attend the nursery at the church. We gave them some paper to draw on – this was something very unusual for them. While we were there they had their me porridge (below), which for many could be their only meal of the day. One thing that struck me: it costs about £1.20 for a term for children to attend, but not all do as some families can’t afford it.
Above: The church building. This is the grandest building in the area. Just being in such an unfamiliar setting would have been enough to think about on its own, but we went on to speak to various people who told stories of how things have changed for them (see below).
Above: Drying-up rack. This is a simple example of the kind of change that has happened. Before the PEP programme was introduced dishes would often dry on the ground, which meant that all sorts of things could get on them, meaning that disease spread more easily. We heard that since this change was made people from other villages have seen it and used the idea.
We went to talk, via an interpreter, to a lady called Elizabeth (above). She is a widow and has leprosy. She has gone from begging to being one of the most prosperous people in the village as a result of the PEP programme. A lot of it (and I’m still learning about this, so please excuse vagueness/inaccuracy) seems to be about making a small amount go a long way as a result of a growth in confidence, persistence, making wise choices, and faith. This picture shows her granary (on Flickr I called it a larder, but you get the idea) where she stores produce that she has grown to that it keeps and can be sold. This means she can afford to grow more, and in the longer term she is hoping to move. The contents of the larder are shown below (corn, millet, and out of sight, soy gum (Bex thinks so anyway). You can read more about Elizabeth here on the Tearfund website.
This is a potted summary. We talked to other people – including Richard, who Liz has talked about here. Bex also has a great video of him playing a home-made instrument here (put computer on its side).
We’re going back to the village tomorrow. Thanks for your comments, and sorry not to have had time for reply to these and tweets. I promise that I will possibly do some drawing tomorrow.
Posted by Dave at 8:14 pm on February 26, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.
Today we have travelling by road for most of the day getting to Soroti, our base for the week. I am tired and so am just going to post a few photos if that’s OK. I intend to draw tomorrow.
The journey was hot, bumpy, and quite scary a lot of the time, especially when it got dark. Let’s just say that safety standards are different here. But the main impression of the day will be of a wonderful country, full of variety, colour and interest. It was fascinating to pass so many places and people and see so many different things going on. Here are just one or two.
Uses for a bicycle. We saw mattresses, huge bundles of bananas, chickens, and everything else you can imagine on the back of bicycles and motorbikes.
Kids, on their way home from school. I liked the purple jumpers.
Truck, with people on the back. It doesn’t seem unusual for people to get around this way here, quite often with possessions or animals in the same vehicle. Our (local) driver told me that it was fine to take this picture, and these chaps seemed very pleased to have their photo taken.
Fish. This was my lunch. I know, it looks like we are living it up a bit. In reality I am told that when eating in Uganda there will be a menu with lots on it, but only one or two options will be available. At lunch today the option was fish. But I can’t deny, it was very tasty.
Sunset, an hour or two from Soroti. From this point on it got darker and the roads got worse.
Tomorrow we go to Ogongora for our first day seeing the work that the church, supported by Tearfund is doing. And, if all is well, there will be diagrams.
The bloggers have arrived in Uganda! I’ll do a proper update later today, but we reached the hotel in Entebbe just before 1am local time. We were up this morning for our lift to Soroti, where we will be staying for the rest of the time, but unfortunately our lift is yet to arrive. Traffic delays have set us back an hour and a half (so far). On the plus side it means I have some wifi to let you know I’m here.
Posted by Dave at 6:51 am on February 25, 2013 and filed under tfbloggers.