Before attending Kira Farm Development Centre Gabriel had nothing positive to say, having lost everyone he loved in life. His father died when he was a small boy, and his older brother, who had become a replacement father figure, died fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.
Death and desperation
When war broke out Gabriel endured a harrowing four years in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, where he and his mother feared for their safety and struggled to find enough food to eat. In the camp his mother contracted malaria and with no access to medicine, died a few weeks later leaving Gabriel in the care of his uncle. After the war Gabriel’s uncle paid the young boy’s school fees, but then he also died a few years later as a result of contracting HIV in the camp.
With his education abruptly finishing and everyone he loved, gone, Gabriel frequently considered suicide. He felt lonely and helpless until he was granted the opportunity of attending Kira Farm.
Part of a family
Gabriel treasured the training, friendships and family he was given while on Kira. ‘To me, Kira was like a goldmine. I knew this was my only door to a better future,’ he says. ‘I am so grateful for the mentoring I received and getting a personal relationship with God filled the emptiness I felt in life and left me hoping for better.’ At the end of the training Gabriel knew the next steps wouldn’t be easy, but felt encouraged that he was not alone.
Confidence and faith
‘Life has been getting better and better since I returned home,’ says Gabriel. The enterprising young man found a government programme which trained people in tree planting and had organised a huge workshop giving out seedlings. Buoyed by the confidence and training he had received at Kira, especially in tree nursery management, Gabriel knew he could do a better job than some of the trainers. On the last day of the workshop he introduced himself to one of the officials, explained about his training at Kira Farm, and showed him his agricultural certificate. Having received a mobile phone from Kira, Gabriel was able to leave his number with the official. Not knowing what to expect, the hopeful young man went home and prayed.
Proving his worth
Gabriel was soon called for a job interview in Lira town and excelled in the interview, beating three other men to the job. Every day Gabriel made sure he was on time, that there was minimum wastage and high standards and he worked with joy – all part of the ethos he had learnt at Kira Farm. ‘My boss was happy with everything I was doing, especially my Farming God’s Way (conservation farming) garden,’ says Gabriel. To his huge surprise, Gabriel was soon appointed Farm Manager. Having learned from the staff at Amigos to be down to earth, Gabriel managed to earn the respect of all the staff in his charge, even though some of them had more experience. Gabriel has also introduced devotions every morning before they started work on the farm.
Training and development
Gabriel’s boss has now opened up the farm for secondary school agricultural students to come and learn from Gabriel about Farming God’s Way, as well as essential admin skills like bookkeeping. Gabriel is paid £67 a month (a huge sum to this young man) and his boss has given him a piece of land within the farm for personal projects, where so far Gabriel has stocked six goats.
With the money he has earned Gabriel has bought a motorbike and employed a young person to provide motorbike taxi services in town. He has also employed five other young people to help farm his land, and is learning to drive a car. ‘Kira Farm changed my life beyond recognition!’ says Gabriel.
Amigos Worldwide is a registered Charity/NGO both in the UK and Uganda.
Amigos Worldwide, Registered in England, Company Number 6122350, Registered Charity Number 1119450
Registered Office 7A Beech Grove, Pilton, Barnstaple, Devon. EX31 1PZ
(Amigos International and Amigos are working names of Amigos Worldwide)