One thing i have learnt about having kids is one has to plan, plan and plan some more. Getting out of the house takes twice or thrice the time you would ordinarily take. So you can understand why i started my trip to Mbale two days earlier. I love road trips even if i sleep most of the time. I cant help it, its like the car is rocking me like a baby while singing me a lullaby. To my surprise , i dint have even one wink of sleep during my four hour trip to Mbale. It helps that i slept over in jinja, halfway my journey.
Fast forward, to the last two hours of travel Mbale . I have seen many beautiful places in this world but Mbale is most definitely among my top ten. The city has some sort home coming feeling. Like your glad you came . As we travelled 100km per hr, i kept trying to take photos of the towns we were going through. That didnt go so well, and i promised my self to keep stopping at the towns on my way back.
We got into town just in time to book a hotel and head off for our first meeting with Mr. Patrick Nabutala, who was able to show us the societies we were going to work with. This meeting was a warm welcome to Mbale.
The next day we set off early to our first society Bukhaweka GCS . We didn’t know our destination so our journey involved lots of stop overs to ask for directions and reverse gears to undo our getting lost. But we finally made it and we were received by the chairman and treasurer of the society. We headed out to a coffee garden and were introduced to a beautiful lady who was the owner. We held a series of interviews about the planting of coffee, cultivation, maintenance and harvesting coffee. We arrived when she had already harvested and was in the drying process. We then headed to the society office, were they gave us a run through about how things operate when coffee gets to the society. Finally we met an enthusiastic farmer who had an even bigger plantation. Most of his trees were quite old ,planted in the 1950s to the 1970s. His explanation were more detailed and you could tell he was quit passionate about the coffee but also being able to share his knowledge
After the society hosted us for a drink or two, we rushed off to the Bugisu Cooperative Union where some one was waiting to take us around the factory. I must say the coffee process leaves no room for mistakes. The gentleman took us through the process from when the societies brings their produce(dried coffee) to when it is exported.I loved the smell of coffee, the numbers of people weighing coffee, sorting and pricing. It gives one a boost of adrenaline (that exciting feeling of being part of a big activity) .In my next article i will describe the whole process of coffee growing . So stay tuned for these messages.