Melon update and my projects

My name is Oceng Morrish and I am 15 years old and the oldest student at the Chrysalis School for Young Social Entrepreneurs.  I am in Senior 1.  I am one of the members of the Butterfly Project and I live in a small village in Lamwo district.

I joined the Butterfly Project this year and this project deals with children who are talented and gifted in their life in some way.

All of the members of Butterfly have an individual project and a group project that we are running during weekends and holidays.

Me winning gold for my age group at the Lubowa 5000m Fun Run


I am an athlete and I was the best in Lamwo District at long jump and high jump last year, so it was easy for me to become involved in Project Circulate, an athletics project started in 2009 by Ssuuna Francis.   This project is about improving  the fitness of children so that they can compete with other children from various parts of the country.   I see some children are not going to school because their parents cannot manage to pay their school fees so I came up with the idea of using this project to help these children get a sponsor which can help them in schooling.  This year I have been responsible for taking the  members of the project to the Mandela Stadium for training and competition.  I have also trained the children at Kyambogo University and Makerere University, where we were able to time the runners.  Some ran very well and got a good time.

I am at the back with the yellow vuvuzela


I have a project I have started to improve the reading skills and knowledge of children, so that when they go to school they will be able to understand their teachers in the  class and master the subjects without forgetting.  In future this will help develop the country and the children’s future as well as making it easy to communicate with other people, like those coming from outside our country.

Perhaps the most important project we have done this year, though is our melon project and this is the one, which we are putting forward in the School Enterprise Challenge.


Back in May we sat down together with all of the Butterfly North members and we discussed what we were going to plant to help keep all of us at school next year and what we thought might help our villages develop the most.  We chose water melons, because we had some seeds and because we thought that they would be able to grow in our soils.

We used the internet to find out how to grow and harvest the melons and especially where we should plant them.

Then we came up with ideas of planting the melons in all of our villages and later that month four of us – Nancy, Charles, Joel and me – planted the melons in our home village.  They grew very well and we harvested from Nancy and Charles in September.  During harvest time the weather was very wet, so transport could not get through to my village.  A lot of the melons in Charles and Nancy’s village had also become waterlogged, so a lot of the melons rotted in the field, because they were left standing.  We think we left them too long and so our numbers were below what we expected.  Others did not harvest – Joel’s had not grown so well, as he lives in a place where the soil is not so good.  Unfortunately we could not get a truck through to mine – maybe 500 melons lost.

When we sell them in the market and earn some money that money is going to help in various ways like local children from the quarters can be supported in school, help support the project to be continued and help in buying art materials or story books for my reading project, athletics kit and supporting our study also. These watermelons also develop the village that we plant the melons in because we left a percentage of the seeds in the village in order for them to plant and earn some money.  This may help them to support their children in schooling and other things. The problem we have is that the melons are rotting because of heavy rainfall and maybe pests and disease and we are working with our Director to see how we can improve the next planting.

You can support this programme at the Social Entrepreneurship site Start Some Good.


3 thoughts on “Melon update and my projects

  1. I think what you did this year was a great success-you ALL learned a great deal, what soil/area works best for the crops..what melon numbers you produced for market and self sustainability (market targets should also be considered) who when and where are you going to market your melons, who and how will you transport them..who will sell them, how will you store them at the school/homes for eating..what other alternatives do you have to get the melons out of the ‘garden growing areas’ should the water again be a ‘setback’ what other alternatives to just leaving and letting them rot…Can you not harvest as many as possible, store in a ‘hut/shed’ feed to pigs that could also be kept in the villages and used for market..still providing money for the school/projects ‘farm animal’ village increase…Is it possible to consider carting out the watermelons with ‘hacks or wagons” donkey, horse/ox drawn or even pulled out to where a truck could be loaded if its extremely wet rather than let the whole lot rot? Inside ever problem there is a solution..Keep doing listening and improving..What you are all doing is amazingly wonderful, Visionary work as well as missionary and economically Savvy!! You are all to be congratulated on your hard work, perseverance and continuity!!

  2. Thank you, IdaJean. We certainly learnt a lot in 2011 and we have some new ideas for 2012, which involve trialling the orange-fleshed sweet potato, which has proved effective in alleviating poverty in some areas and is also a drought-resistant crop.
    The melons are not easy to grow – they need good irrigation, a pest-free environment, bees (ideally), fungicide and need careful harvesting. I think there are easier crops which would provide pig food – one that is especially effective is moringa, which is also helpful at protecting the pigs from illness. We believe the melon crop can lead, with a proper logistics strategy, into a high value cash crop and that can thus become a means for buying useful equipment and machinery for the village. The kids are all very keen to have another go with the melons this year, but we need to work smarter.

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