Answers for the London Ladies
Okay, Shelswell isn’t exactly London, but how much do you know about the geography of Wulu? Anyway, back in February, after we had enjoyed our soup lunch, I spoke briefly about Wulu and the Oxplough project. Various of you asked me further questions about Wulu. I was not sure of the answers, so I sent them on to Bishop Zechariah and Philip, the Development Officer for the Wulu Diocese. Philip took the questions with him when he next went to visit the Domoloto Women’s group. Here are the replies from Philip:
“With the regard of London Ladies’ questions, we as Diocesan members and the Domoloto women farmers group sincerely have an interest of answering the questions as follows:
Questions about the Wulu area:
1. Water supply – does water come from a clean underground supply or from the river? Do you have to purify it to make it good to drink? If so, how do you do this?
Wulu generally doesn’t have clean drinking water. Some communities are still getting water from the pond and spring. There are a few hand pumps in the town centre which are shared by both livestock and humans. Most of the community haven’t the knowledge of how to purify water. The local materials they would use are filter cloths which are sometimes provided by a local Agency.
2. What other agencies are operating in this area that will help give hope for a more settled future.?
The area is now experiencing a little bit of change; the UN helps provide food, and the agriculture organization FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) is giving basic skills for a few farmers through a livelihood project which empowered a few women and youths.
3. Where do the women get the mill that they grind with? Do they buy it, and if so, where do they get the money from?
The women buy the mill for grinding from a rock owner, for which they pay about 10,000 SSP =USD 35. They mostly get this money from farming produce or from art work like the sale of a local bucket.
Questions about the Domoloto Women's Farming Project
1. Do the women have other livestock - goats or chicken?
These women have a few goats and chicken for meat and for traditional marriage which is generally controlled by the men.
2. Will the oxen give milk to drink?
The Oxen don’t produce milk but they can be used to cultivate someone’s farm, which can then enable them to buy milk.
3. What will the oxen eat? If it is a bad year, what will you feed them?
In Wulu we have communal grazing which we rotate from place to place, and our pasture won’t dry up over all the area.
4. What sort of crops are grown? Are these a type of grain crop or cereal?
The general crops grown are sorghum, maize, millet, simsim, groundnut, cassava and sweet potato.
5. Is the rainwater sufficient to grow the crops or are there plans to have an irrigation scheme?
Rain water is not sufficient for long variety crops but only short variety, but vegetable crops are good for irrigation. The group doesn’t have irrigation tools that can sustain the crops.
6. Will the Domoloto Women's Farming Project help teach the women to grow a wider range of vegetables?
Women empowerment is paramount; this project will teach the women how to maintain their own produce and will develop their independence skills on how to grow crops and vegetable.
7. Does the Project help women work on a communal farm or on their own plots of land?
The project helps the women work both the communal plot and their own plots since they work as a group and one has to work on her own farm.
8. Are the women paid for their work?
The women are not generally paid for the work done in the group or in her plot, but if they grow enough produce, they will sell their part of the share to buy salt and soap for the family because most women take care of the family.
9. The crops grown in the project, do the women use these for their own families or sell them in the market?
The crops grown in the project are not used by specific woman but the group decide how to use them. They sell and save the money for the group and they have to taste the part with the families.
Questions about the men
1. Are the men working and if so, what sort of jobs do they do?
They are working; they engage in farming too, hunting and bee keeping – they sell the honey as a source of income.
2. Is this the same for the young men?
The young engage in the same activities but the young men commonly like hunting and fishing for food.
3. Do the men help on the family farm?
The family farm is being kept by the women because the men are engaged by activities like hunting and bee keeping.
4. Do they get paid for their work?
They are not paid for work done because they are working for themselves. The only payment is to consume the food produced from the farm.
5. Have the women given up hope that the young men will be productive, just expecting that they will get involved in local conflicts?
No, our young men don’t get in conflict with others in the community, but the area is affected by neighbor conflict. Wulu is inhabited by Jur Beli and a few Dinka. The Jur community, which our norm and culture, doesn’t encourage fighting and looting. The main activity done in this area is farming which is commonly the source of income.
In conclusion, Wulu diocese is appreciative of the project for the women group and would like to include bee keeping for men such that the projects will be going side by side. Honey is the source of income for Jur Beli men and with encouragement, our young Christian men will also be engaged in the activities.
This is how young boys hunt for honey in the bush. The one on the left is with local axe and the young sister in the middle has a container for collecting honey, and the younger brother has fire for smoking the army bee.”