Career and Graduate School Advising
Networking with Fellow Alumni
Post a Job or Summer Internship for Warren Wilson Students
Offer a Sophomore Externship
Talk with Your Employer About On-campus Recruitment
Offer Summer Housing
Serve as a Career Mentor
Babara Decker is a Warren Wilson College graduate who has served as an agricultural missionary at Abba House in Uganda since January. She is on a mission to change communities in developing nations through improving their diets, teaching proper and sustainable agricultural practices and educating them about the Christian faith
In working with the orphans in Uganda, Barbara uses so much of what she learned at Warren Wilson, in biology and agriculture, specifically cattle and hogs, as well as a passion for growing food to serve people in developing nations. Prior to Uganda, Barbara worked mainly as a dairy herdsperson, and also did extensive service work in El Salvador, Venezuela and Israel.
At Warren Wilson Barbara majored in biology, worked on the dorm crew, then the farm crew and spent all four summer breaks working on the farm crew as well. For her service, she was a Girl Scout troop leader at the Black Mountain Children’s Home. “I remember a poem Mr. Laursen, the farm manager, had posted in his office that said, ‘I would rather see a sermon then hear one.’ This ‘living by doing’ is the way I try to live my life,” Barbara explains.
Abba House is a children’s home operated through House of Friends, an international nonprofit Christian mission organization. Abba House consists of homes in community, ideally with one widow and 12 orphans. The children at the school mainly eat a diet of red beans and “posho,” a bland corn flour mush. “Posho” is a word in Swahili, meaning “provision.” Barbara’s purpose there was to plant a garden with good vegetables to enhance their daily food.
Barbara feels strongly that education is vital to improving struggling communities and giving children the chance for a prosperous future. I heard a Chinese proverb once that said, ‘If your vision is for one year, plant rice. If your vision is for 10 years, plant trees. If you vision is for 100 years, educate the children. I am a teacher by doing.”
An except from Barbara’s newsletter about work:
I started planting, with the help of Rose, one of the Abba House moms, on the first Tuesday. That week, we planted yard-long green beans, spinach, chard, cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini, beets, and lima beans. It rained on Friday. Returning to the garden on Monday, I found stuff breaking through the soil—cucumbers, yard-long beans, zucchini and even the lima beans, which were planted last. How encouraging! We continued to plant all the seeds that I brought—carrots, turnips, cilantro, basil, more chard, and more green beans.
The property is right on the edge of Lake Victoria and the garden is about 500 yards from the massive source of water, but the water’s edge is protected by papyrus as a natural filter for the rains as they make their way to the lake. A water “pit” has been dug between the lake and the garden for the kids to collect water for their use. There is also a spigot of city water nearby, though its usage costs. I hauled water up the hill from the water hole to use on the garden. It was not an easy feat and I did it more for the experience of knowing what the kids have to do to get water. One of the projects the team researched was how to get water from the lake for usage at the Home and garden. Electricity is also costly, though solar is not. A solar pump, or pumps, can be used easily there. Uganda is on the equator and there is not a shortage of solar power. There is a plan, and funds, for digging a well on the property. Being so near the lake, the water table should be fairly high. A well will draw in all the neighbors to the free water source, as is the custom. Two water sources are better than one. I would like to be a part of getting solar power set up to pump water from the lake as well.