Monday, June 6, 2011


Life is full of choices and challenges. That is why people find life hard: it is hard to make the right choices.

Life is like a journey that is full of all kinds of potential disasters that could occur all the way to the journey’s end. The journey of life always goes forward: you can’t retrace your footsteps. I can’t be the baby I was years ago.

It is a good idea to learn how to make good use of your hands, as that is one way of becoming successful in life. And you should know what you want to be in the future: imagine yourself successful; talk to good friends, and a trusted adult or teacher, to discover how you can use your own talents. Do not think only about making it through the next class, although that is of course necessary! It is better to try to work out what you want to do in life: this will help you find out why you are in school. Being in school is the best chance you have of improving your opportunities in life. An education gives you the intellectual skills to understand the world, and the practical skills to make your own way in the world. Through education we can change how people think about the world, and therefore we can change the world! Life is not only about passing through many education levels but, also about being yourself and believing in your abilities.

Try using your own judgment about what other people tell you. Although their voices may be powerful, you should also stay true to your own likes and dislikes. For me, whenever I listen too much to other people, and don’t trust what my own voice is telling me, I end up messing up. However, at times, other people can guide you and help you work out what it is that you want. Many people will try to influence you. They may tell you to change your looks, or other things about yourself. But stick firmly to what you believe is right: your ambitions can come true if you believe in yourself.

Fabulous bodies are fine, but they are superficial only. Your inner voice should be your first priority; it will help you make the right choices, the ones that are best for you. And your looks are your own: someone will love you; you will never be alone. Look in the mirror, see who you are and, and embrace it. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, even though sometimes other people don’t see it. There are no short cuts to any place that is worth being; there is no victory without sacrifice.

Also note the following things:

· Try to do the best at everything you do, and be creative. This is what my former teacher used to tell us.

· When things get tough, be resilient and don’t give up. Keep on the truck to avoid messing up and crashing along that highway of life. Eventually you will make it.

· Give yourself time to think about things, so that you can spot a genuine opportunity when it comes along. And take advantage of those opportunities when they are presented to you, even if you’re not entirely sure where they will lead.

· Let your mind dwell on the present, and not the past.
This will help you to keep heading forward, rather than sliding backwards. A man who thinks too much about his ancestors is like a potato: the best part of him is underground. Keep the past in the past.

· Everyone is different: that is why my looks are not yours and that is why each person has a different talent.
I like taking time off to think, learn, dream and plan once I come up with something new, and I start practicing with determination to get the best results from my plan.

Build confidence and believe in yourself.
Lack of confidence is my weakness. I am shy most of the time. You can do your best regardless of who you are or what others say or think of you. It’s better get started, instead of wait. Don’t give up trying, even if you make mistakes. He who makes no mistake also makes no discoveries. The best way to predict the future is to invent it! So don’t quit when things go wrong, as they sometimes will, or when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, or when funds are low and debts are high, and you want to smile but you have to sigh. When worries bring you down, rest, if you want, but don’t quit. Life is funny with its twists and turns. As every one of us learns at one time or another, many a failure can turn around to good fortune. Don’t give up though the pace seems slow. You may succeed with another blow. Success is failure turned inside out. The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are. It may be near when it seems so far, so stick to the fight when you are hardest hit. It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit. And it is never too late for you to be what you might have been.

Focus on your strengths

If I don’t do something right the first time, I try not to worry because I know am not the only person who has failed to get it right the first time. Never say never, even if you are at a point of no return and the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders, and the walls are in your way. Just keep fighting - that is your destiny. Don’t pity yourself : you may end up not struggling.

· If you want to show the world what you are capable of, but no knows your name yet, don’t dwell on when and where it will happen. Instead keep focused on the path. I personally never knew that Permaculture would change much in my life and instead I just kept doing the shoveling, pushing wheel barrows of cow dung, gardening each day with the project managers. You don’t need someone to give you a leg up: start with the talents you already have in your hand. For me that is art and my capacity for hard work. At my former school, Lord’s Meade Vocational College, I was well known for art because that’s something I do well. I try not to get frustrated with waiting for good things to happen to me in life. Instead I just keep trying, and make plans so that to be a better person in this competitive world.

Make small effort each day to do something new.

Each day be different by making small effort to contribute to your skills and knowledge: learn something new, and be productive and creative. You will attract people’s attention when they like the things you make and do.

· You are not the only one who goes through hard times.
Understanding that other people have troubles helps to put your own problems into perspective. It also makes you realize that you are not alone. Understanding that everyone struggles in life gives me the energy to try harder to succeed. Life is like a sewer: what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. I think life is all about trying new things and discovering new ideas.

Ask for help where necessary.

Here I have a problem. I often feel as if I don’t have the right words to ask for help. But it takes both sunshine and rain to make a rainbow: they both need to help each other to make up a rainbow. So what I have discovered is that asking for help does not need to be so hard. So for me when I am worried or sad, I talk about my feelings to someone I trust. I don’t stay in isolation. It’s better to ask for help than get stuck on the way.

Try to be happy and make friends.

They say that if you make those who are close to you happy, those who are far will come closer. So enjoy the company and the personalities of those near you, because other people will see from this that you are interested in other people, and they will want to be near you too. I am a friendly person but I think that some people find it hard to become friendly with me because I seem cool and distant. I try my level best not to lock myself a way from the world because I know that ‘together we stand, divided we fall’. I love getting out and joining other students or friends whenever am free, so as to hang out and chat and share experiences with them because I know that friendship is what binds the world together in peace. May we all become friends if possible. This point is from my own research and from my own experiences so far with my friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


In this world of struggle for success, it is so difficult to know what can change one’s life. What you may think and expect to change your life may really do less to change your life, and what you don’t even know can do much to change your life. For me, the thing I didn’t know about that could do much to change my life is permaculture. But I have always loved farming: back home my father, mother and other family members are all gardeners.

It was in the holiday of August 2008 that this new permaculture idea landed in my world. It landed on fertile ground. Not only did I already admire farmers, but I was also especially interested in animal husbandry.

In 2008 before the August holiday and while I was still at school, Rosemary Morrow, Dan Palmer and Amanda Cuyler, permaculture experts from Australia, visited my school, Mbuye Farm School in the Rakai district to talk to the students about permaculture. They had already implemented permaculture at Sabina Home and School.

They were introduced to us by Auntie Deborah. Rosemary gave us small tid bits of permaculture, but I personally I didn’t pay attention to what she was airing as even the mere word permaculture sounded so strange and different to me.

When the holidays came I was told that I would be spending it at Sabina. It did not please me at first because I did not go to primary school there and I was not used to life at Sabina. On the first day of the holiday a truck came to pick people up. In no time we were already at Sabina as Mbuye is near there.

The next day was Saturday. Auntie Deborah called on the holiday makers. She said, “Welcome”. “Thank you Auntie”, we replied. She added “Let me hope that yesterday you have toured around and you have seen what is taking place”. “Yes Auntie”, we replied. She continued. “Jan Smart came up with the idea that Sabina could grow some of its own food on the small piece of land we have, to supplement the children’s diet. Jan Smart is hoping for a lot of support from you, the holiday makers, in term of labour, so you will be helping in many activities on the project.” At this point, some of the big boys became unhappy because they were to be allocated activities, instead being left to do their own activities that might earn them pocket money.

The next day was Sunday, and in Uganda Sundays are meant to be free from any activity apart from cooking and bathing (indoor activities). So we were excused from working on the project. But I noticed that Dan and Amanda went on working and by the time we reported back from the Church, they had done much of the planting, stacking and many other permaculture activities.

Monday morning dawned with lovely bright morning sunshine. Among the activities I helped with that day were: making or building compost manure heap, transplanting seedlings from the nursery bed to the mandala garden, making/sharpening more stacks, making more vegetable and nursery beds, and constructing a simple bridge that could be used to cross the swale beside the mandala garden. My schoolmate Tony Obalim and I successfully constructed the simple bridge. That was my first real experience of helping on the project.

One Wednesday, when I was still new at the project something happened that almost made me stop coming back to the project. One of the boys on the project borrowed Dan and Amanda’s camera from the mandala garden without their permission. He took photos of all kinds that he loved. Amanda looked everywhere for the camera but everyone who was asked “Do you know where the camera is?” would answer “No”. I began to get worried that all the boys who had worked in the mandala garden would be suspected. This fear almost making me stop lending a hand: I fear and I hate being suspected of wrong doing. But thank goodness the boy who took the camera was seen taking snaps in the dormitory and this was reported to Auntie Deborah. So the camera was returned. This episode made me think a lot about whether I wanted to continue to work on the project. I did not want something dreadful like that to happen again. But I decided to continue giving a hand.

One day in the afternoon, as I was seated, I saw Dan digging a swale behind the dormitories. My brain was occupied with some thinking. Dan was alone and working so hard. I was not used to being around whites and I was also too shy to consult people older than me, such as Dan, so I feared giving Dan a hand but I really wanted to. I forced myself out of shyness and went to give Dan a hand. He welcomed me and gave me a shovel and he kept the pick axe, digging the swale as I shoveled. Later I took over the pick axe and he used a shovel. As we came to the end of our task, another boy, Obalim, joined us. That was my physical activity for that day but that was also my introduction to Dan. Soon I was working every day with Dan from early in the morning until sun set, doing gardening and other activities. My introduction to Amanda was when we were making compost manure heaps.

From then on, I realised that I could motivate myself to do any activity being performed at the project without any one having to ask me or persuade me. I was at last accustomed to helping the two volunteers. Eventually, Dan and Amanda started to leave me in charge of children in the garden when they were away in Kampala. I remember one morning when, as they were leaving for Kampala, Dan came very early and gave me a list of activities that could be done as they are away. All the activities were done by the time they returned, and more!

By the end of the holiday, I was a great helper on the project but eventually the time came for Dan and Amanda to leave. And after that the volunteers started to arrive and leave quickly: Mike Cloutier and Carl Jacobsen replaced Dan and Amanda; Kim Glasow and Clive Mullet plus Mrs. Anna replaced Mike and Carl; Ralph replaced Kim and Clive; Will replaced Ralph; Michelle Sabto replaced Will; Cam and Simon replaced Michelle; and finally Mr.Kalokola James and Mrs. Anna replaced Cam and Simon.

In January 2010, I was one of the three youngest participants in the 1st Permaculture Design Course (PDC) ever held in Uganda. I got my Permaculture Design Certificate. I was able to do this with the financial support of my Australian friends Michele Sabto and Andrew Trevillian. So I take this time to appreciate them for their support.

The teachers on the course were Rosemary Morrow, Dan Palmer, Amanda Culyer, Lindsay Dozoretz, Claudia and Rachel Otuyar. Doing this course has been one of the great highlights of my life. There were almost 50 participants from all over the world, including Canada, Australia, the UK, Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Uganda.

This has been my way to permaculture.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I decided to have a different night and day, a wild and adventurous one. Murchison Falls National Game Park was the chosen destination.

When you are having a different day in Uganda, you either stay in the city or drive to the village……your home village! I was doing neither of the two so, when people asked, I didn’t really know what to say, because I was actually going to a Game Park with friends: Jan, Rowe, Dan, Amanda, Rico, and Will.

It seemed such a foreign idea to me, to be going to the Game Park for a different day……but then again, how many opportunities do you get to take time off with your friends and take a trip out of town?

The friends who accompanied me on the trip had visited the park before. But I was a first-time tourist. We set off with a driver to the north western district of Arua, to spend a night and a day in the scenic comfort of Murchison Falls National Game Park.

The trip started from Gulu Town where my friends and I had visited my family members a day after Christmas. The traffic jam that led us out of Gulu Town all the way to down to Arua should have prepared me for the hordes of people in every town we entered, but I did not expect this to be the case in the Game Park. With hind sight, I realize I should not have had any misgivings about telling people where I was headed.

There were numerous other Ugandan and white families spending their holiday in the Park. Apart from it being a learning experience for the children and a fun activity for the family, this experience opened my eyes to how much we had all been missing out on by sticking to un-written rules in Uganda of what one can or cannot do during a different day.

By the time we arrived at the Park, we were already late for the evening Game drive. But on the way entering Park, we had seen antelopes, didicks, kob and we had also managed to catch several close-range sightings of elephant families as they returned home grazing.

The driver and I headed back to the Murchison Safari Camp Canteen to buy some chapartis and drinks for dinner for the gang. The staff at Murchison Safari Camp, our home for the night, were friendly, and the accommodation and scenery so amazing.

A different day dawned bright and beautiful but we were running late for our early morning Game drive. Our object of affection on this day was the Lion pride. we saw three of them lying beside the path yawning normally. I can almost say I know how the three wise men from the east felt as they followed the bright morning star to find Baby Jesus. The question on the tourists lips was, ’’Have you seen the Lions?’’

The peaceful giraffes were also lovely to look at and there were many other wild animals to see. There was also the nice green vegetation and lovely savanna with bright cloud cover up in the sky and the cool air blowing freely. The weather and the landscape were absolutely fantastic.

We were lucky to have seen the three yawning lions as we had to cut our game drive short to catch the 11:00am ferry ride across the Nile. Our plan was to put the van on the ferry, cross the Nile, have breakfast on the other side, and then to head to the Murchison Fall.

Luckily, we managed to get to the ferry crossing point in time and we secured seats on one of the two launches headed out at the time. Several families were left stranded as all the day’s planned trips were fully occupied by those who came earlier. They had to settle for a tour of the visitor’s information center, where they got a brief history of the park.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that our ferry was almost equally filled with both Ugandans and foreigners. This showed me how much we have come to appreciate our indigenous holiday destination.

While we were on the ferry we saw, on the far shores and in the waters of the Nile, hippoes, buffaloes, several species of birds flying on top of the water, and beautiful scenery of the cliffs alongside the Nile. Our driver and guide had interesting tid-bits of information on the different things we saw. I was really excited to see several real life pumbas (warthogs) and timmons [merkats].

We enjoyed a tasty, special different-day breakfast at Chillie Restaurant before embarking on our next adventure to Murchison Falls.

At the Falls, we only saw a handful of people!! The Falls were a cascade of sparkling water against the rocks, causing water vapor to be blown by the strong wind and falling over us, even though we were almost 15m away. For me, this was like snow falling over me.

Suffice to say that a different day in the National Game Park was an interesting day. The other tourists who didn’t get to see the lions were like King Herod looking for the elusive baby Jesus.

I can hardly find the words to describe the beauty of this area. A typical Kampala dweller would kill to have the cool weather Murchison has to offer; the fresh air, the lovely sound of streams rushing over the beautiful Rift Valley as they flow towards Sudan and Egypt to water the refreshing greens of the Murchison river flats; the feeling of being at the shore of the famous River Nile as you look north and imagine the water flowing into the Mediterranean Sea beyond Egypt!!It was all breath taking.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


My field name is Nyerology but my real name is Nyero Christopher

I am a Ugandan and I am currently a secondary school student.

I was born in the district of Gulu in northern Uganda in 1991 on 29th January. My mother is Mrs Laryang Juliana and my father is Mr Kolo Bilentino. My mother is the second of my father’s two wives. I am the last born and the youngest.

I was born during a period of war between the Ugandan government and the rebels of Lord’s Resistance Army (the L.R.A) led by Kony Joseph.

My parents left the countryside for Gulu town at a time when the conflict was worsening - rebels had begun killing civilians, abducting young healthy boys to serve as child soldiers, and assaulting women and girls.

Unfortunately my step mother refused to flee to Gulu town, and in 1999, two years after my father and mother had fled the countryside, she was killed with 11 other family members.

The war lasted for more than 25 years and ended in 2005 when peace talks were held. However, the rebel leader Kony went into exile without signing a peace agreement.

Displaced northerners, especially those who were living in the countryside, are now returning back to their villages as they are seeing signs of peace returning to the land. However, the return is complicated by the issue of land rights. There is much dispute over who owns land and many people are making grabs for land that is not theirs.

My parents, like most people in northern Uganda, depend on subsistence farming, but now that they are older farming is difficult for them, especially my father. When I am home I worry when I see them doing physical labour on the land.

When I visit my home, I help with the work on the land. But I also spend time listening to my parents’ stories of the place and its history. They introduce me to relatives and show me places I have forgotten.

I am tall and I am proud of my height. Being tall is unusal south and central Uganda where I have spent my school years, but in the North tallness is common.

In 1999, after rebels had killed 11 members of my family, Major Kakooza Mutale’s ordered that children whose parents had been killed should be given help. And so in 2000 I was taken to Kampala to the home of Sister Rose Muyinza. Sister Rose founded the organisation Daughters of Charity [], which is now a partner with the international charity Children of Uganda. I still remember the lovely Christmas I had in Kampala that year.

In 2001, I was taken to Kiwanga home near Kampala and I completed my primary schooling at Mother Kevin Primary School where my best friends were Agaba Nicholas and Ntege Andrew.

The home administrator, Mrs Serwanga Rhita, was a lovely lady who was good at her job and used to listen to our views and problems. She is now somewhere else and we miss her so much. But life has to go on - nothing can be done.
I love sport so what follows is a bit about sports I have played and how I have learnt to play them.

When the basketball court was built in 2001, my friends and I had little interest in playing. Instead we would play soccer, which I am good at, on the basketball court. At Mother Kevin Primary, my soccer nickname was Ata’a for being good midfielder, and whenever a team was being formed, they would scramble to have me on the team. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case!

Uncle Richard, who works for Children of Uganda, used to be on the National Basketball team and he started training my friends and I. Slowly, I began to learn how to play basketball, learning from Uncle Richard the rules and regulations that govern the game. By the time I was in my seventh year of primary school I was good at it.

In 2006, I did my Primary Leaving Examination (P.L.E) and passed it with a second grade.

In 2007 I began my first year of secondary school, S.1, at Lord’s Meade Vocational College[], which is also in Mukono district. Lord’s Meade is also close to Jinja district which contains the Nile Beer Brewery, the Nightile factory, and of course the lovely scenery of the river Nile, with Owen Falls dam close by.

At the end of every term, which was always on a Friday, we would be let out of school early so that we could go touring the river Nile and other beautiful places before Uncle Richard would arrive to take us back to our homes for the holidays.
At Lord’s Meade, Ssebadduka John Paul, Mubiru Francis (both hockey players), Tizzo, Cool.B, Juba Charles, Odoi Samuel, and Egunyu Lampard (a basketball player) were my friends.

I was in the school basketball team as well as the junior cricket team. One day after school, while I was still new at the school, I was playing soccer and cricket coach Mulogo Jude (the uncle of Juba Charles) caught sight of me me as he was training the cricket team. He came over to and said ‘’Hey giant boy, come here. Have you ever played cricket? I replied, “No sir”. He said “Okay, now go and try it”. After I had bowled, batted and fielded in front of him, he said ‘‘You are a quick learner. Don’t go back to soccer, you should be here. Your height is good for cricket, volleyballand basketball”. And he continued training me in bowling and batting.

After two days, I went back to playing soccer but Mulogo Jules came for me and put me in the junior cricket team. Although junior cricketers did not play in tournaments, we travelled with the senior team and so I got to watch my first ever cricket tournament. At that tournament, the school lost by only three points.

Mulogo Jules didn’t know, however, that I was already good at basketball. When I was in the basketball team, he came to me and said ‘’My Cricketer, now you have decided to join the basketball team and leave my team’’. “No sir”, I said

In 2007, the school participated in a basketball tournament held at Lake View Senior Secondary School in Jinja. The Lord Meade’s team trained for five days straight. Our coach was tough on us and I grew tired quickly as this was the first real training session I had ever done. I had such pain in my muscles that I dodged one session of training. But despite that I was picked for the tournament. My name was the fourth to be read out for the line up. Our captain, Juba Charles, was quite tall but not as tall as me. I was nicknamed Lewis Bryant for my good passes, shoots and dribbles.

Playing the tournament was the highlight of my basketball career. I was very nervous when I due to play because it was my first time in a real tournament. Even thought the player voted best of the tournament, Odoi Samuel, was on my team, we didn’t play well.

I completed only one year at Lord’s Meade, before I was transferred to Mbuye Farm School in 2008, which is in Rakai district. Rakai is five districts south of Mukono.For more 

Sport is not a strength of Mbuye Farm School. My skills in basketball stagnated as it was not played at the school.

At Mbuye, my best friends were Tanzanians, including Rigobert Rwewubizza and Florian Rwegoshorah, who was a talented footballer. My Ugandan friends were Sozzi Brian, Mukesi Ali, Twahah Kaddu Rwaga, Jumba Joseph, Kaluhanga Louse and Mugarura Charles. Mrs Kizito Roselyn Ssali, the Depurty Principal become my great friend as well. If you are wondering why girls are not among my friends, you may as well know that I am still quite shy around them and do not yet speak with them much.

At Mbuye, I had many nicknames, including the Engineer [because i did brick and concrete laying course], the Prophet, Alvin[movie actor], the Doctor, the Secretary, My daughter, Odongo Otto, and American Height[for being tall].
While in Mbuye Farm School, I began to spend my short holidays at Sabina Home in the nearby town of Ssanje. In the long holidays I would push home to Gulu.

At Sabina I acquired more interest in farming because there I helped on the Sabina Permaculture Project: I am still helping on this project in my holidays. From my work at Sabina, and after completing a Permaculture Design Certificate there. You can link here: more information.I have discovered new ways to create a sustainable environment for human beings, without the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. I have learnt ways to support natural ecological systems and help fight the problem of global warming. 

At Sabina mynicknames are Permaculturist and Inspector.

In this blog,I will be writing about my life, including friends and family, special projects and interests such as permaculture and building, as well as art, work and achievements.

'Nyerology' - it really means "the world according to Nyero".