By Ngwenchi Marilyn Goreh
As a Cameroonian studying in Uganda, I have been undertaking a number of initiatives back home and in Uganda, and specifically in Gulu.
In Cameroon, although I haven’t been engaged in a personal project, I offer financial support to my family. For instance, I pay for the cost of dialysis for my sister to ease the burden for my parents. My mum on the other hand runs a charcoal selling business, and my dad a firewood and kerosene business which I have both supported financially.
Before I got the scholarship, my sister and I were running a small business baking cakes and other pastries. When we started, the business had no name and was not organized as we had no business plan. But in the past several months, a lot has happened with the business thanks to the numerous training I have undertaken both online and offline under RUFORUM. These trainings have not only provided me with knowledge, we have been able to develop a strategy for running the business.
We have also been engaged in farming growing vegetables like onions and tomatoes. However, the farm has faced several challenges, including pests and diseases. We managed to combat and control the pests by making our own organic insect spray using ingredients such as neem leaves, red chili, aloe Vera and dishwashing soap. The unpredictable climate also continues to affect the crops. Sometimes the rains are in excess while other times the sun is too much, which makes it difficult for the crops to grow to their maximum size.
With the setting in of the dry season and the anticipated harsh sunny days, we hope to construct a green house, which will help shield and protect the crops from the excess sun and pests.
Besides all these, and as the lock-down continues, I do everything possible to keep myself busy with my course work. Given that some lecturers had given out their course outline, I do research on the topics which had not been taught yet. These courses include Biochemistry (feeder pathway and glycolysis), Entomology (different systems of insects), Macro-Economics (Taxation). I also endeavour to attend all online webinars and training organized by RUFORUM. In Gulu, I spent the period of the COVID-19 lockdown learning how to make different crafts. I have also been working with Nic’s Organic Urban Farm, which is located close to the Gulu University main campus. On the farm, we grow vegetables such as tomatoes, spinach, onions, and green pepper. The harvest is sold to the local community. I am grateful to the Mastercard Foundation for giving me this opportunity and making me able to realize my dreams.