One of the things I look forward to most whenever I visit Uganda is eating chapati. Before I returned to the US after a six-month stay in Uganda back in 2006, I attempted to learn firsthand how to create this flatbread from Immaculate, TCON’s infamous cook. Considering the only two ingredients in this flatbread are water and flour, one might presume that it is a relatively easy recipe to create. I had to sit through a handful of demonstrations by Immaculate, however, because without specific measurements I struggled to accomplish the right proportions of each of the ingredients. Now, over 5 years since I departed Uganda, I am still unable to master the art of chapati-making. In fact, I have given up trying and opt instead to get my chapati fix each time I visit Uganda.
I learned on this trip that Immaculate’s chapati is perhaps the best chapati in all of Soroti (the district where our Uganda office resides). So of course hers is likely to put my best effort to shame! In fact, Immaculate’s cooking in general is known to be exceptional. In a conversation with Immaculate on this recent trip I learned about how she began her own catering business on the side to fill her time and increase her income generation when she’s not working at the TCON house. (more…)
Outside of the TCON conference center in Soroti, the cooks were preparing a meal for the ladies in the yard. This was something I was interested in seeing during my first visit to Uganda. Its one thing to imagine hundreds of women gathering together for several days at a widows conference, but the practical details like meal planning are harder to envision! It’s safe to say that the size of the main pot cooking the beans was roughly equivalent to the size of my first car in high school. (more…)
Mallory McPherson is a TCON volunteer on the 2011 team of supporters. Her first visit was back in 2006 when TCON was still young and developing. This time around, Mallory volunteered to contribute journalistic pieces for TCON’s blog. She currently lives in Colorado and is a student at Denver University.
It is easy to come to Uganda and be unsure of how to feel. I first came to visit my uncle, Dave McPherson (TCON’s Founding Director) and see what he was doing out here five years ago in 2006. A total of 24 hours of flying and 8 hours of driving (involving five foot potholes and an overturned double-decker) led us to a conference center with shrieking women packed like sardines in a can. As we entered the room, they immediately began praising my uncle, and in turn my whole family. I was aware that Dave moved here to “help” the widows, but I was unaware of how many were a part of the organization, how exactly he was helping, and why I was receiving this praise.
I did not understand at the age of 12, who these women were. I knew they had been discarded by society, but to me, they were receivers of my dad’s money and my uncle’s hard work. This mindset made me feel guilt for the life I had, the problems I didn’t have.
As we traveled through Soroti’s town center, we came across a white preacher promising hundreds a cure from HIV/AIDS if they gave their souls to Jesus. This made my soul cry. It is not hard to see the corruption in Uganda. This is something I still notice here, but now I am more aware to the cultural sexism which many of the widows’ problems stem from. (more…)
Beginning this week, TCON will have a team from the USA composed of staff and supporters visiting our field projects in the Teso Region and attending one of our widows conferences. We look forward to sharing stories and reports from a variety of voices in the coming weeks. Today, our newest staff member, Craig Nason, reflects on embarking on his first trip to Uganda.
“Aboka Lam!” – Acholi Proverb roughly translated “Narration alone is inadequate”
On a journey to Peru several years ago, I found myself in a crowded church built on a sandy hilltop an hour north of Lima. The community there was originally founded for migrant workers who moved to the country’s capital looking for work. They were allowed to build crude homes on barren dunes that rose just east of the Pacific break. With the most basic infrastructure absent, a promising future may have seemed fleeting to those who settled there, but it was the best option they had at the time. Over many years, the families of Pachacutec struggled with fathers who would leave town for weeks at a time seeking work and a regular income. Many women were left behind to raise families, and many children would lose touch with their dads entirely. The promises of a better life escaped most. (more…)
In 2006, TCON released a documentary which showcased the plight of widows throughout Uganda. We have grown immensely as an organization since the release of this documentary, yet it still captures the beginning of our story and offers a glimpse into the lives of the women we are committed to serving.
We have been working hard to re-vamp the TCON Website and make it more informative and accessible to those wanting to learn more about what we do. We are also excited to launch the TCON blog where you can visit often to learn about the current happenings with TCON, discover news related to the work we do in Uganda and read feature articles that focus on the people we are serving. We hope that you will visit often, stay informed and get involved.