Separated by war and joined together by ‘peace gardens’, these two friends have made a new life for themselves and their families
Peter Adumba and Peter Khemis have been friends since their youth in South Sudan. They were both forced to flee when violence flared in their home country and separated them in 2018. But, by some divine intervention they landed up in the same refugee settlement in Uganda and are now not only friends but business partners too.
“It’s like staff of OPM [Office of the Prime Minister] knew that we are inseparable friends; we were given plots neighbouring each other!” says Peter Adumba, referring to the 30mx30m allotments given to refugees through Uganda’s progressive refugee policy.
Despite their initial trauma, lack of expertise and eking out survival on humanitarian rations, the duo can now boast a communal farm with a large income, thanks to their participation in ForAfrika’s agricultural training.
The friends negotiated to rent more land and were able to produce 780 giant heads of cabbage which have already earned them about $270 – with a lot more of the leafy greens yet to be sold.
“We plan to buy a second-hand motorcycle,” says Peter Khemis, explaining that they will use this as a “boda-boda [taxi]” to earn additional income.
“As the motorcycle generates money, our second season of crops will be growing and we intend to carry out off-season production as well. It’s our year to change the odds and live happily thereafter!” he says with a huge grin.
The friends’ success has inspired some of their other neighbours to take up farming more seriously too.
“It’s because of the peaceful co-existence that we are able to live off this land,” Peter Adumba says. “And thanks to ForAfrika for always supporting both refugees and the host community.
“Our journey has taught us that there is a lot we can do when we join efforts, but there is a lot more we can achieve when a third party holds our hands and walks alongside us to open our minds to possibilities,” he concludes.