“Meet me at the mosque,” he says on the phone, while Paul (Bulenzi) and I drive through the lush environment of Jinja. Another beautiful morning in Uganda. Not long after we pass Paul’s house in the outskirts of Jinja, we reach the mosque. A young man comes walking towards us.

“Hi, I’m Emma, welcome to Wakitaka.” [Wa-tchi-taka] He tells about the youth group that he and his friends started three years ago, seeing that most of the youth from the village remained without work, even after completing advanced studies. 17 youth joined right away, they are 60 now, working on different projects.

The poultry farming hasn’t been too successful until now, although a two-story chicken house was rented from one of the parents and still a few hundred chickens are there. Diseases and problems with getting the right fodder keep causing headaches.

The piggery is more successful. Started with 3 pigs, there are 17 now. And there’s good market. The big pigs are housed in a pen on the ground; the younger ones are in raised housing. “We want to build a raised pen for the biggest ones too. That is more hygienic and saves a lot of work cleaning. In case we want to expand we can use this land, which belongs to one of the parents. We could use some advice on building a good pig pen.”

Another project the group has been discussing is goat rearing. “Some of the youth are Muslim, so they won’t get involved in the piggery. And as you can see there is access to borehole water, the surroundings are green.” Paul confirms that the village would be a good place to rear goats: “Everything they need is there.”

Other members, led by Richard, have started a handicraft workshop. The room where the workshop is housed was provided by the same parents they rent the chicken house from. Woodcutting, tie & dye, necklaces and artwork using local materials such as banana fibers. Paper postcards with a crane bird (Uganda’s trademark) design made of banana fibers. “Those, we hardly sell at the local market. Ugandans only buy the computer prints we make of them. Would there be a market in Europe for the products we make?”

“NABUUR neighbours are giving all kinds of advice on our projects, even though we just started. I think we would move even faster if we had a facilitator.”

When we move on, Paul is very happy with the artwork displaying a disabled person. “This will get a nice place in our centre.”