SDG staff profiles: Meet Patrick!

Posted on by Sophie Hicks

IMG_8113Patrick Ocaka is one of African Revival’s Volunteer Agricultural Extension Workers, responsible for supporting the work of the Livelihoods team. He recently graduated with a degree in agriculture from Kyambo University in Kampala and joined African Revival in January 2015 on a voluntary basis to gain experience. Read more about Patrick here and his role with AR!

I’m originally from Nwoya district, but I moved to Gulu when I was in Primary 1 (aged 5). You see, Nyowa back then, it was not a safe place because of this conflict, so most of my life I spent in Gulu.

In my free time I like reading novels. I’ve read Dreams From My Father by Barak Obama. It’s a good book. I also like reading the bible. And now I spend my time watching football matches. I’m a proud Liverpool fan.

IMG_8063I went to Grace Christian Academy, which is the first school supported by African Revival. It was an orphanage school, so that’s where the founder of African Revival began his work. And that’s where AR actually came to life. I was there, I saw African Revival, I met Mr Tony Allen, I shook his hand, I was very proud. He’s the one who levied for my tuition fees. Actually AR started by sponsoring and we were the pioneer people who have been actually sponsored and got that benefit. For me, particularly by one of the AR Trustees, Mr Glenn James and his wife Mandy. Actually they helped me all the way of my life, so I’m very very proud and so much happy for them for the great job they have done for me, right from primary up to university level.

You see, with ambition, it keeps on changing as you grow. When I was younger, I wanted to become a medical doctor or a preacher. But then I saw that a medical doctor would not work because now what I’ve studied is contrary to the standard of becoming a medical doctor. I decided to now go for agriculture because God has been showing me some good mentors who are all agriculturalists. I like animals and crops very much – when I see a leaf of any crop swaying, green and very healthy, I just like it. The same applies to animals, I like to see them, be with them, they give me that life. So that’s why I want to work in agriculture.

I did my first internship with African Revival when I was in my first year of university. Now, again I’m back as a volunteer. Actually, now with the good work African revival has done for me, I myself decided personally that, even volunteering, I have to go for this organisation, they are the ones who have made me where I am now, so there’s no way I can let them down. So I’ve been following them closely to ensure that I also give my services as an appreciation to them. So I’m very proud to be here.

Patrick Ocaka on MotorbikeMy favourite part of working for AR – well I like everything. But I most enjoy interacting with the community members and pupils. So I like actually getting to the field, talking to the community members, sharing, giving them the skills they need. And the pupils also, I like giving them the advice that can help them continue their schooling. In fact I just like working!

The SDG project is giving people new knowledge of farming new techniques of farming; they are now even able to plant new crops. Here the parents do subsistence farming, but normally not vegetables, normally grains – maize or rice – which is more carbohydrates. But now if we are to integrate vegetable farming in it, they are having a more balanced diet.

We started with 15 schools, but there are more schools in Amuru. To me, I wish that the project could expand to cater for all the schools in Amuru, so that all the parents in the district can have the benefits of the project. That is the only wish I have for the project. Because it is changing the lives of many people. So I pray the project can expand so the future of the younger generation can actually be to the expectations of their parents. Often the parents have the expectation but don’t actually contribute towards it. So if we can touch the rest (of the schools),that would be nice for me.

Layima 03I have one woman who has said the project has done something great in her life. She has actually replicated the knowledge from the SDG back home in her garden. It is helping her a lot. In terms of food security, she is well. In terms of income, also she says she is ok.

I’m looking forward to kicking off my farming activities. Personally, I do not have land. So I plan to get some good job, earn money and get some land, and get serious with farming. Currently I’m not farming, but in the future I’d like to farm in the northern region. Nwoya land is very fertile, in Uganda I think it’s the best land, so I may look towards that place and get land and be there in the farming. Step by step – start small, then later on keep going to get to farm on a commercial basis.