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Sebowa:  An orphan who looked after someone’s cows, gardens now owns a farm

Green peppers,are some of the vegetables which fetch income for Sebowa.

Green peppers,are some of the vegetables which fetch income for Sebowa.

MASAKA. After death robbed him of his parents in 2002, Joseph Sebowa could not study beyond Primary Seven.

A resident of Takajunge Village  in Kabonera Sub-County, Masaka District and  a first born in a family of six, Sebowa  says he had to stay with his siblings and when he felt they were old enough to stay on their own  at home, he left them and looked for a job.

‘Luck’ landed him on job which was to look after cattle and goats, as well a coffee plantation.

He did this for a couple of years, but on the day he calls his luckiest one, he was looking for pasture for her boss’s animals and heard an a announcement  that Kitovu Mobile was traversing the village calling for vulnerable children who would enroll for a free training in modern farming under their Farm School.

Sebowa using bio gas. He says the environment is safe because he doesnt cut trees to get firewood

Sebowa using bio gas. He says the environment is safe because he doesnt cut trees to get firewood

Sebowa  says he briefed his boss about the training and he allowed him to go and get details about the training  which largely favoured  orphans. “I went and met them[Kitovu Mobile staff]; they took us through what the farm school was going to offer to the beneficiaries”

However, when the father of three children   explained his boss, she looked unhappy and   didn’t welcome his idea, because of her selfish interests.

He says, “She wanted me to keep looking after her livestock, and told me I came here to work not to study”

But Sebowa recalls he maintained his position because he never wanted to lose the opportunity . “I maintained that I want to get skills in farming, even when it means to work without paying me”

He says her boss later gave her a green light and in 2004, he started attending farm school lessons in Kikungwe  Village . “We could study for two weeks and later come back to practice what we had learnt,” he says adding

“They [Kitovu Mobile] gave us mattresses, watering cans and other farm inputs like modern seeds. They could come and supervise us, to see if we were putting into action what they were teaching us.”

Graduating

Sebowa showing off some of his vegetable gardens. KITOVU MOBILE PHOTOS

Sebowa showing off some of his vegetable gardens. KITOVU MOBILE PHOTOS

He says in 2006, he left  the farm school and started farming ,doing it  in a modern way ,just as he was taught in the farm school .“I started growing maize in the best way we were taught, I now grow vegetables, like cabbages, tomatoes, green papers just at the backyard of my home, like you have seen,”he says

Changed livelihood

Sebowa inside his poultry farm at home which also boosts his household income

Sebowa inside his poultry farm at home which also boosts his household income

In the last ten years, things have changed for the better especially livelihood, far from when Sebowa  was still  working on someone’s farm.

“From these seemingly disguised gardens, I got money and joined a motor garage where I started to get more skills in motor vehicle mechanics and in 2008 I finished and I currently run my motorcycle and bicycle garage

Using his proceeds, Sebowa managed to buy a plot of land and built his own house. “I bought the first piece of land at Shs700, 000 and later added another piece at Shs1, 500,000 where   I grow coffee,”

The 30 -year -old says in 2012, Kitovu Mobile gave him a Frisian cow which has enhanced his livelihood. “I get milk for both drinking at home and selling,”

Because they wanted me to add value to the products from the animals, Sebowa says Kitovu Mobile constructed for him a bio gas, which has also made his life easy.

Kitovu Mobile, a turning point

He says Kitovu Mobile has got him far. From looking after someone’s livestock to owning a  farm . “The free knowledge they gave me has greatly changed my life”

He says his challenge  now  is to have  more land to expand his  farm  and improve on the yields.

“We were trained a lot  of things and would wish to have them implemented ,but the problem is lack of enough  land,” he says

He is also challenged by uncertainty in weather patterns  and appeals to Kitovu Mobile, if at all it can help, to get him  irrigation  equipment  at a cost sharing basis, “I badly need a huge  tank to harvest rain water. Like you have seen, I now use bottles for irrigation, but this can only apply on   a smaller scale, it works on something like an acre, beyond that , you need to use more advanced irrigation equipment”

Sebowa also grows mushrooms at his home which sells to boost his income

Sebowa also grows mushrooms at his home which sells to boost his income

Sebowa,who looked after someone's cattle is now owning his ,courtesy of Kitovu Mobile.

Sebowa,who looked after someone’s cattle is now owning his ,courtesy of Kitovu Mobile.

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