Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blog Action Day: Droughts and Matoke

Today is Blog Action Day 2011, a day when bloggers around the world are encouraged to blog about one particular theme. This year’s theme is ‘food.’ I just wrote a post for the Canadian Red Cross blog on the current crisis in the Horn of Africa because of the lack of food, but I wanted to share something on this blog too.

Northern Uganda has indeed been affected by the drought that has impacted at least five countries in the Horn of Africa. Thankfully for the orphanage, the situation has not been as dire in Uganda as it has been in other countries, such as Somalia and Kenya.
The orphanage we support is in southern Uganda, and should the south be affected by droughts, it would indeed, hurt the children.

The orphanage is currently working hard to become self-sufficient through farming. That way they can rely on their own crops and livestock and sell any extras. They currently grow foods, such as matoke (a kind of banana very popular in Uganda), potatoes, carrots, cabbage and other greens. They have a chicken coop as well, so they have a daily supply of fresh eggs. Based on this, you can see why good rainfalls are important.

I’ve often wondered what would happen to the women and children of the orphanage if they did experience a drought. Although they are fortunate to be sponsored by so many of us in Canada and the UK, it would still be an incredible challenge to overcome if the entire country was facing a food shortage.

Imagine going to the grocery store and there was no food on the shelves to purchase. That’s what could happen if a country that relies on agriculture experiences severe long-term drought. Crops don’t grow and therefore there is nothing to consume or purchase.

Thankfully, this is not a challenge we have had to confront.

So, on a much lighter note – and still on the theme of food -- I thought to share with you a recipe for a dish that the House Mothers in Uganda spoil me with when I am there.

It’s a peanut stew that is poured over rice or potatoes. This recipe calls for peanut butter, which they do not have at the orphanage.

Instead, the women grind peanuts using a traditional mortar. It’s hard work too. I tried once and my arms were aching because the mortar is heavy and it takes time to grind the peanuts right down to a paste. It is, however, worth every effort.

Click here for the recipe.

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