The arrival of rainy season in Gulu, did not prevent a dozen Peace Corps Volunteers from getting muddy. In fact, it helped, somehow. In solidarity with Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary, Gulu Youth Development Association (GYDA) hosted several volunteers from all corners of Uganda for two days of fuel efficient mud stove building. All while getting a little taste of Acholi hospitality and culture.
During the strong rains of March 21st and 22nd, participants built two large industrial stoves on GYDA’s main campus and one smaller domestic mud stove near a community water source in order to give access to the wider community. During the two days of building, many community members poked in to take a look and several have already begun requesting assistance with building their own.
Under the tutelage of the volunteers, construction of all three stoves was undertaken by GYDA bricklaying students and instructors. It was a great opportunity for students to learn real-world practical skills that they could take back home. As one volunteer put it, “Even if students don’t go out and make money from this, at least they can start improving their own homes while sharing technology and offering a better quality of life to themselves”.
The volunteer event concluded with some traditional Acholi dancing, a feast of local foods and speeches about the history and importance of Peace Corps. Two local RPCVs stopped by to show support and reminisce on their own experiences.
Organizers want to give special Thanks to PCV Heather Pasley for her support on stove designs and strong mathematic skills, PCV Jill Grider for leading the small stove project, RPCV Mali, Scott Bartel for his contribution and support, and thanks to all the PCVs who participated in all events. GYDA also thanks RPCV Nepal, Sue Gershenson and supporter, Federico Riccio for their donation and support to education for the Acholi community.