By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus - The unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 like rain in a desert caught almost everyone unaware, sending many people and businesses worldwide into an unprecedented recess. Nevertheless this was the time to reconsider alternative means of survival. For Simon Akugizibwe, a teacher of Literature in English at FNC Academy, farming was the only alternative that he could use to make ends meet outside the classroom.
When President Museveni announced the closure of schools in March, Simon immediately called home and asked his people to start clearing land where he would later join them to establish a garden that he now thinks will blossom into a multimillion project. He says the main reason was not generation of income but to make use of the abundant time created by COVID-19.
‘’Actually, the main intention I resorted to farming wasn’t income generation but to utilize the time I wasn’t in class,’’ Simon admits. ‘’I wanted to do something valuable.’’
Though his initial plan was to plant an acre of onions, Simon says the seedlings he bought were of poor quality and besides the soil could not support them forcing him to go for ground nuts. By June all preparation had proved successful and the garden was ready for crop growth but because there was limited rainfall, he opted to plant in September.
‘’Land preparation was done by June but we couldn’t plant because my district, kyenjojo almost has no rain at that time of the year,’’ he says.
Simon expects to reap big from his one acre groundnut garden at the end of the year though he fears the October-November rain could reduce the harvest. He is sure of a ready market for his produce with hopes that his school, students and peers will be able to buy from him before any other customer.
‘’I hope my friends, students and even my school will be the lead customers because I am sure they are capable of supporting me,’’ Simon affirms.
However when the president allowed the reopening of schools, Simon abandoned his garden to return to the classroom though he left it in the hands of trustworthy relatives. He is happy with the progress that his story has now become an anecdote for every teacher at FNC Academy.
Simon Akugizibwe graduated from KIU, Main Campus with A Bachelors of Arts with Education in 2017 before establishing himself as one of the most admired young Arts teachers in various schools he’s taught so far.