ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

July 03 Update


Greetings to you all,

Happy New Month! It is amazing how time really flies; it’s already July 2020 and many of us wish this year would end already in the hope that 2021 will be better. Many of us have not done or achieved half of the goals we set out to accomplish, that is if we even set goals to achieve annually. I have a friend of mine who once told me these so-called New Year resolutions just put people under pressure and for sure life is what it is. 

The Covid 19 situation here hasn’t changed much from last week’s situations. The only lockdown measure that still remains unshaken is the curfew. Many people want it to be removed but the president still believes that by doing so, he will be doing us a disservice. He thinks all the work that has been done will go down into the drain if he removed the curfew. Curfew is at 7PM thereby causing a lot of traffic because everyone is trying to go home at the same time. I have been a victim of this traffic three times this week because I have decided to go see the Mamas in person after such a long time. 

The Covid 19 cases have risen to 893 infected people, still no deaths registered yet.

It is amazing how much things have changed over these last few months. Some of our Mamas have closed shop, some have lost their business and  the majority have gone back to square one. I have also learned that it is different when you speak to someone on the phone and also when you actually see them. It was harder to get to them because of the limited transportation. Only a few taxis are allowed to operate but also they are expensive in terms of cost. Anyways whereas it was a struggle to go and meet the Mamas, the satisfaction of seeing their faces brought me healing. 

One of the first Mamas I met was Rehema N.

Rehema feeding her chickens

Rehema used to fry and sell chips served with either meat, eggs or greens at a roadside stall. Unfortunately she had to close shop because the owner of the plot wanted to sell it, so he had to vacate all the occupants. As a result Rehema had to close shop and try to move to another area and ever since she hasn’t been able to pick up well.  When she moved, she tried opening a restaurant cooking for construction workers but it didn’t work out as the demand was not enough to sustain the business. They now want to buy a movable tin shop to put it by the road near their home. The challenge is that she hasn’t been working so she can’t afford the tin because the owner wants almost a million Uganda shillings for it.

Rehema

About a month ago or so Rehema bought four chickens and she has been trying to keep them for resale later. Her intention is to fatten them a bit and sell them at a higher price to raise some finances. She bought 4 chickens and is keeping them for resale.

I dropped by Justine and I am glad she is doing well. She has been surviving on her veggie stall. The saucepan hire business has not attracted any demand lately so they are depending on the stall. The market for saucepans came from social gatherings like weddings, engagement parties, funerals and many others. These gatherings can’t be held anymore so the saucepans aren’t hired anymore therefore no business at all.

Justine

Grocery shop is doing well for Angel N. I looked into the shop and it looks great. The stock has been maintained well and she has decided to buy some  onions and tomatoes to add to the grocery shop. All her kids have now moved to the shop to live with her because they had been living with their father before the pandemic started in Uganda.

Angel

Last week Hadijah N almost lost her roadside working space. The owner of the plot hadn’t seen Hadijah for a while because she wasn’t cooking anymore due to the fact that the demand wasn’t enough to sustain the business. When Hadijah’s neighbour sensed something, she called Hadijah who later came to discuss the issue with the landlord. Hadijah is now back on her roadside business trying to make it work. Unfortunately, she had to close her charcoal stall to be able to retain her chips space because it is what she desires the most.

On a good note, Annet N was about to bring back her property from town. The property on the other hand was mismanaged by the ladies she was sub-renting with. Her cups and saucepans were destroyed so she made the decision to bring back all the property she was using while there. 

Annet

Cissy N also closed her business for a few weeks now. When I visited her she said that her family came and picked her up for the Covid 19 season. They knew that it would be hard for her to survive since almost all businesses were closed, so they came with her to the village.

Cissy

The poultry business is doing so well for Christine N. This week she hatched 225 chicks from the 10 trays she took to the hatchery. She intends to keep 100 and sell the rest of the chicks to a few people who booked them, including our very own Maria A who wants to add to her piggery farm. From the sale of the chicks, Christine wants to complete a house to do her own piggery farm. She also gave me a bag of chicken droppings to fertilize my garden. 

Christine and some of her chickens

I also dropped by to see Maria A but she wasn’t there. Sadly Maria’s grandfather had died so she had gone for the burial. I found her husband who stayed to take care of the home and the pigs. The pig house really looks good. I think they have been maintaining it very well. The floor was washed and the pigs looked pretty and clean. One of her pigs that had refused to grow now looks really good. She also has two pigs that are about two months pregnant.

This  week I also made it as far across town to a place called Namuwongo to see Lorna K. She doesn’t have any business lately as she doesn’t have any sewing to do for others, no fabric and also doesn’t have money to help her buy fabric. I tried to engage her in a conversation to explore if there is any way that we could help her to maybe start a new business but there was nothing she could think of at the time.

Lorna K

My week has been successful according to what I had set out to accomplish. I wanted to visit Mamas for three days this week. I visited all the Mamas I wanted to visit except Maria A, who had gone to attend the burial of her grandfather. Otherwise everything went as planned and I also managed to get my fertilizer from home. This weekend I will be mixing it with the soil I have and I will prepare the ground for planting now. Thank you for keeping tabs with us, thank you for reading our weekly reports. Above all, thank you for supporting ISEE Solutions Society. Stay Safe, stay sociable.

Report by:

Andrew Echel 

Update June 19, 2020

Greetings to you all,

I hope this finds you well. It has been just over 80 days since we first discovered Covid 19 in Uganda. Throughout this time we have registered over 741 confirmed cases and 400+ people have been able to recover. We have been very fortunate to have not registered any deaths directly from Covid 19.  Sadly we have seen some notable cases of police brutality related issues. As a nation we are still struggling to curb the rate of new infections as they have grown wild since the lift of the partial lockdown. The authorities are still encouraging people to wear masks especially in public, keep social distance and also observe 7PM curfew. 

Due to the lifting of some of the lockdown measures, the government has decreased their food relief distribution efforts. Whereas the lifting of the lockdown is notable, a number of businesses are not allowed to open due to regulations concerning social distancing. This inhibits the majority of the population especially the ones in the informal sector where the majority of our Mamas reside. This has pushed some of our Mamas to start rethinking and restrategizing in their directions of business. 

This week we yet again reached out to our Mama Nguvu partners:

Regardless of the lockdown and subsequent lifting of lockdown business for Christine N has been good. The chickens are laying more eggs. She took some of her trays of eggs for hatching and this was really good because she aims at enlarging her farm. She had been interested in piggery farming for a while now and this week she had found someone selling a very good breed of piggies. She previously had a pig stall but it had been broken down. I asked her to rehabilitate the house and make it habitable for the piggies then we would talk more about acquiring some for her. She said she could have it done in a few days, so I await her call. 

Unfortunately for Annet, transportation has been a big challenge. She lives quite far from her town of Kyengera, where her restaurant services are undertaken. The inadequate transport has hindered her movement to go and check on her property in town. This is the property we helped her acquire late last year as she opened up her business in town. Annet said that she spoke on the phone with the woman who owns the shop and she assured her that the items are safe. Other than that her second business is picking up good as more people are returning into the trading center, so it’s good. 

“I think my time is up here!” Rovence said “I have worked in this business for a long time and I think I am tired and I need to change. I need to find something more relaxed than cooking.”

 Ever since the lockdown was lifted the business is up and down because not many people can afford to buy food like they used to. Rovence is now thinking about an alternative business where she won’t need to expose herself to a lot of heat and too much movement delivering food. Maybe a shop of some kind, maybe an electrical shop but says it might require a lot of cash to start up.

This lockdown hasn’t been good for Jennifer N. Jennifer sells shoes in one of the shopping arcades in town. The challenge is that these arcades are packed with people all the time and there is such difficulty in keeping social distance. This forced the government not to reopen these buildings and hence the difficulty that Jennifer is facing. She has been having difficulties feeding her 3 kids, so I sent her 35,000/- Uganda shillings to help her buy a few food stuffs for her family.

Regardless of the fact that the rains haven’t been falling in Mitiyana, Prossy L’s piggies are doing well and have grown bigger. The rains haven’t fallen in about a month so the grounds have been dry so not much in the garden to supplement the feeding. It is expected that we might have some rains soon until the end of July. We hope this can help the garden flourish to supplement feeding because the piggies will be ready to be pregnant soon. 

On Saturday 13th June, Francoise was able to make it home. After many months away from her family, she was able to make it home in time for her medication. Francoise had run out of medication but she was still stuck in the village where she was, when the first lockdown was initiated. She had been stuck for about 3months at that time. It was really good that she finally made it home. Only that this came with the last stroke to Jolly’s business that had to close. She sent the money to help her mother return home, a sacrifice worth making. I was quite disappointed that the business closed too soon. I hoped that she would have contacted me when she found means of transport. Maybe I would have sent her some transport and saved the business. I envisioned that maybe if Jolly kept her business and her mother continued with her own maybe the home would have been better. 

Finally this week I also decided to engage in some kind of farming. This is majorly caused by our inability to move easily to buy food and other vegetables. I had to come up with a new way of creating sustainability for myself too.

I spoke to my landlady and she allowed me to prepare a small garden in front of my house. I tilled the land but the soil wasn’t as good. I then called a friend who helped me get some black soil from the garden. I brought it home but it was a little dry so I have spent the last two days trying to dump it with water. I will contact our Mama Christine who keeps chicken to collect me some chicken dump to add to the garden as fertilizer. Then I will go to a seedling place to buy vegetables for planting.

I am really excited about the garden as it’s already looking good even before I plant. I hope the output turns out to be good too. Keeping my fingers crossed for this project. This is another technique that maybe I can share with our Mamas so they can try to grow quick and easy food for themselves. Anyways the week wasn’t bad except the part where Jolly had to close her business. 

I want to take this opportunity again to thank all our dear partners for all the support you have given to us. Thank you for believing in what we do in our community here. We are encouraged by all your feedback when you comment and share our blogs. 

Yours sincerely 

Andrew Echel