The Motorcycle Diaries – Research in Southwestern Uganda

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Anthropologists who study space and place often claim that one’s method of travel – for instance, flying in an airplane, riding a bicycle, or walking – has the power to uniquely shape their experiences and relationship with the land. Somehow I’m able to reflect back to their theory, as I’m pushing …

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Permaculture Ethics & Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa

How is agroforestry playing a role in improving soil conservation in southwestern Uganda?

When people think about Sub-Saharan Africa, they tend to conjure up images of dry, dusty landscapes – flat, hot and bare – with field upon field of thirsty maize crops. In several regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, including the Karamoja District in northern Uganda, those stock images aren’t so far from …

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Ugandan Grasshopper Season

Nsenene is a cultural delicacy in East Africa.

November is a month to harvest, de-wing, fry, sell, devour and celebrate a Ugandan cultural delicacy. Grasshoppers, or nsenene as it’s locally known, flood the humid airs of the year’s second rainy season, and Ugandan trappers take to the fields and streets in the masses. The days of November mark the rising …

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How to Build ‘Majiko’ (Eco-Stoves) 101

Step 5

The majority of rural households in southwestern Uganda prepare their meals using the ‘three-stone method’. The technology is just as it sounds. Collect three large stones and gather them closely together in a triangle, start a fire in the middle (using the branches of eucalyptus and pine trees) and place …

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For the Love of the Beehive

Respect.

Bees are pretty inspiring little creatures. Let’s all take a moment to agree on that. In the last couple of years I have become instinctively curious about, and inspired by the humble little bumblebee. Now I could sit here with my mug of honey-enriched tea and discuss the impressive capabilities …

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Got ‘Underdeveloped’ Milk? – Part III

Nutrition assessment at KIHEFO. (Photo - Nikki Janzen)

There’s a queue of thirty-some people who are hoping to bring home milk for dinner at the corner store dairy, and only four employees behind the counter who are busy grabbing weathered notes and heavy coins from hands whilst filling plastic bags with what let’s call ‘white gold” in Uganda. …

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Got ‘Underdeveloped’ Milk? – Part II

Milk - 32 flavours and then some.

I’m growing fat and nourished on unprocessed milk these days whilst living in Uganda.  I don’t have much of a choice, at least, not like I do in Canada when I go to the grocery store, and see shelves stacked with yellow, purple, blue and red plastic-capped jugs of milk, representing homogenized, 1%, …

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Got ‘Underdeveloped’ Milk? – Part I

My cornerstone dairy in Kabale, Uganda.

One of my culturally-absorbed addictions in Uganda would be considered a highly contraband substance in Canada. It’s white, creamy, and delicious – and I “take it” straight from the cow’s teat. Raw, unpasteurized milk. Three boiled cupfuls a day. What’s illegal in Canada – to sell or buy raw milk – …

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I Dreamed of [Painting Permaculture] in Cuba

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What do you see? An old white-painted shack with the rust seething through? A storage unit? A fence? If you mentioned any of the above, you’re clearly, rationally, correct. But if you, instead, engage the irrational you may open your mind to invite in other solutions to the question of reality – and see …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part III)

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Building a Nation of Poets, Painters and Peace-Makers To know Nicaragua, over the years, has been to recognize the artist in every Nicaraguan I’ve met along the journey of my travels, and volunteer and work experiences. Poets, painters, musicians, folkloric dancers, graffiti artists, actors, sculptors, weavers, carvers… Art in Nicaragua, whatever medium, …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part II)

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From Resistance to Revolution (And Those Caught in the Cross-Fire) There is no way you can understand Nicaragua, know Nicaragua, without knowing about the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1979. It’s not an exaggeration to say, even today – thirty-four years later – that the Revolution really lives inside of Nicaraguan people. The Revolution was led by …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part I)

Photo Credit - Caitlin Jackson

There is a verb in Spanish – conocer. It means to know. It’s used in the context of meeting and becoming acquainted with people. It’s also used in the context of geographical place. I could write, for example, he estado a Nicaragua. I’ve been to Nicaragua. But these are empty words when I contemplate all that …

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On Wildness, Saskatoon Berries and Prairie Identity

Photo - Kay Niedermeyer

This summer, in an effort to “permaculture-out” my mom’s yard and build a fruit forest at the back of her property, we planted saskatoon bushes. This is really neat for many reasons – not only does it pays homage to the prairies surrounding her home, but it also provides her with one …

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Small

(Photo - Trina Moyles)

As G8 leaders are shaking hands over food security deals with the private sector, patting themselves on the back, and smiling to flashing cameras that will transport their sureness, their smugness to media all over the world – I’m in my garden, pulling carrots.  The G8 leaders, as they say …

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My Three Sisters – Outliers Against Conventional Agriculture

Mural in Managua, Nicaragua.

My good luck last week came with the rain. It had been bone dry in Kabale for over three weeks. The sun had baked the clay soil hard as a hockey puck. My garden was thirsty. And I was thirsty (and exhausted) from hauling water up the steep concrete steps that led …

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