Thursday, November 8, 2012

How do you hide something from a Ugandan?

t's a joke that often comes up as I teach Farming God's Way in various communities -- "How can you hide something from a Ugandan?" The answer to the query --" by putting it in a book!"

Don't worry, I'm not laughing at the expense of my African brethren. They, too, tell this joke to poke fun at themselves. 

The point is this: there is not a reading culture here in Uganda. People don't commonly read books as a past time or for pleasure or even to gain more knowledge. In fact, if you say "reading" here in Uganda it is synonymous with "cramming for an exam". "I am reading my books" says a secondary student, meaning, that she has been cramming for an exam.

As I teach farming I realize that my job, at times, needs to go much deeper than just covering my material. I need to teach people how to study; the value of reading to educate themselves. Even the great Apostle Paul requested for his "parchments" when he was in jail. Many of my students suffer from a lack of some simple knowledge which could be easily acquired if they would (in some cases, could) read. Spare time is spent reading newspapers and listening to the radio -- which may keep them up on current events but may not help them find solutions for the problems they face in their every-day lives.

Modern literacy started with the printing press first used for printing the Bible with the goal of putting the written Word of God into the ordinary farm workers' hands. In our day we (those who have access to libraries and the internet) have so much to read. And read we must --  in order to stay educated and informed. But in all of our reading we need to remember that the ultimate reason behind reading is to be able to understand God's Word which has been preserved and kept within the sheath of written languages.

So, as I teach people to farm, I also encourage them to pick up the habit of reading -- and most importantly reading God's Word. Here they will find not only information but power and truth to lead them to the Author of The Book and the Author of Life.

"It is foolish to go to human puddles and forsake the clear crystal stream" Cecil J. Blay

What do you read? Why do you read? How does reading enhance your professional knowledge? Leave a comment below...

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