We have processed the tax receipts for 2023 and they are in the post (February 18th, but they likely won’t be picked up until Monday night due to the Family Day holiday). PLEASE let us know if you have not received them by the end of February 2024.
Hello friends of ISEE. This is our final report to you, to share the delivery of the annual hampers to our amazing mamas. I am sad that this amazing work is coming to an end for us but I am encouraged by the fact that this work is continuing through other organizations, many of which are Ugandan. The Ugandan people are amazing, resilient, and kind-hearted and they want to lift each other up. We have seen many examples of this through our Mama program when women have started to do well and then have employed other women in their community.
I am also so happy to have connected and worked with Margaret in Njeru, with HEYFU in Bwaise, and with Yimba Uganda in Kampala as their vision to empower the girl child and allow her to go to school even during her period is identical to ISEE’s.
Thank you to Sam and everyone at Kabojja for all their help while we have been in Uganda and away. We always knew we were in safe hands while we were there with the Kabojja family behind us.
And finally, a big thank you to Andrew who has been our man on the ground for the past 10 years. The “little boy” I met in 2012 has come a long way and has been instrumental in all the ISEE successes over the years. Webale Nnyo Langi, we could not have done it without you.
To everyone who has supported our work, thank you, thank you, thank you. You helped make my vision a reality. If you want to continue to support such work in Uganda, I highly recommend connecting with Yimba Uganda. They need your support as much as we did.
Now on to Andrew’s final report.
Greetings to you all,
Aah! This is it, the Wrap-Up 2023 as I have called the report.
It has been an incredible ten year journey from 2013 – 2023. From when I was only a young man and now I’m a real man. When most of the children of the Mamas were only infants but now most are teens and young adults. When Mamas were on the verge of giving up but now majority have fully functional business and others still on the growing trajectory. What a journey it has been for all of us, even ISEE Solutions Society. We had no idea we would walk this far, year after year we grew. From 8 Mama’s to 14 to 21 to eventually 49+ Mamas and partners.
This would have not been possible without every single one of you dear friends,families, partners and institutions. From the young and old we mobilized support to keep children in school, providing not only empowerment but also reproductive health awareness and most importantly reusable sanitary kits. Not only helping them stay in school but also providing sex education promoting abstinence for children and use of condoms for adults to try to promote safe sex and family planning.
It was hamper time again this December. I started my shopping as always buying dry foods like posho, beans, rice, baking flour, salt, soap, buckets, margarine, sodas, and then bread on delivery days respectively. I love bread so I make sure I do a good service when getting the bread. We have a culture of giving the best so each product we bought was at a standard I would personally prefer.
I packed all 36 hampers and delivered one by one at the door of each and every Mama. Those who were not at home, it was fortunate that their kids were home so they represented their mothers. The smiles on their faces said a million words and my words can’t express them enough. One thing I know is that they felt love.
Delivering the final message for closure was not easy even for me as the messenger, all Mamas were sad to hear this but yet happy that for 10 years they have had a family that supported them endlessly through the years;
Florence… Looking at me with tears in her eyes and disbelief, she thought maybe I was kidding so she stared dead into my eyes, “Andrew, you are serious!” I nodded yes. “Will at least Erika come back?” At least. I said to her, maybe! Mamas like Florence and many others created relationships that mattered to all of us. It wasn’t just a project for them, it was a Society.
Jane… Andrew, Olimba! ( You are lying). Nedda (No). Banange, (OMG). Naye, webale nnyo. Nonetheless, thank you very much for your support all these years. Thank you for taking care of Francis, my grandson. I am sorry that he will not see you but he is well. We appreciate you for the tank. I had a small broken tank that had leakages everywhere. Some people take back the things they gave you but you people have been different. Thank you for always visiting and encouraging us through the tough times. And please send our greetings and gratitude to the people that send us everything even when they don’t know us and we don’t know what they look like.
Rehema… I know, I have been hard to deal with but thank you for not giving up on us! This one, I was about to give up but each time I was on the verge, then I remembered all the kids and grandkids she takes care of. I was glad, we gave her the salon business and I hope it can sustain them for a while. Bba, nne’balize nnyo! Please, thank them for me.
Francoise… Uncle Andrew, thank my sister for her please. Thanks to Corey’s sister when I was sick, they cared. You helped me get medicine and paid my bills. I will never forget. Christmas has been good the last few years, with the soda, rice and everything else. I hope we can meet again soon.
Hadija… Mr. Andrew, lwaaki! (Why?) How are we proceeding without you? Mama Nguvu has been there for me in many ways, not only business. When I broke my leg, when I lost my baby you were there for me. Tell Aunty Erika, thank you for everything. (Byonna)
Amina… Andrew, mutabani (my son). Why do you deliver good news and bad news at the same time? I thought you were joking. Naye (But), thank them for me, please. School fees, business, treatment when I had surgery and moral support. I am so grateful for everything you have done including when you sit here and listen and also guide my kids. Webale nnyo nnyo. (Thank you very much)
Semmy… Eh! You are leaving us but you have not left me the same, even just this year. The soap business has helped me complete payment for school fees for the kids. As a teacher in such a school, my salary is simply not enough even to feed us but after the soap business, my sons have transport to school and fees for the term. I also have another big batch to deliver in the next few weeks after Christmas.
Justine… Banange, nkugambe kki? (Omg, what can I say to you?). My house was down, my stall was down and you built them. You gave me saucepans at the start and helped me fix them when they broke. Mwebale nnyo! (Thank you)
Maria… We are going to miss your friendship. My pigs have helped a lot with the kids’ school fees and as for the Christmas hampers, it’s always a pleasure to see you carry them into the compound. Always a wonderful surprise for us all.
Rashida… Banange Uncle Andrew, Muzungu mutwebalize nnyo nnyo! Thank Erika and the team, especially her mother. Someone who loves and cares for you even when they don’t see you is not easy. Rashida is one of the few people whose business was visited when Judith was last in Uganda.
Lorna… Please thank everyone for me, for believing in me and my family. For supporting us in every possible way. You stood by me during the time my partner hit me with a hammer on the head. You give us hampers every Christmas.
Lilly… Waki ggi ni afwoyo matek! Lilly comes from Northern Uganda, a place called Gulu district. A familiar district related to the Kony insurgency. That phrase means… “Tell them, thank you very much!” she is grateful for all the support and the hamper, saying… “Philip can now rest as the soda has arrived” Philip is her youngest son.
Immaculate… Thank you Andrew for being a good person, always checking on us, delivering everything when we need it. I was sitting here thinking about what I should get for the kids and then you called and showed up with another bucket. Thank you Andrew and thank Erika for me please.
Each Mama had a unique expression when I told them the news. They were gutted and you could see it in their eyes but above all, they were grateful for the wonderful years of love and support. In their small ways, they said a prayer for all of you. You could see what ISEE mean to them.
On a personal note, thank you for helping me serve my country. I remember during my first year of service during an interview when I was asked what I loved to do. I quoted Benjamin Franklin and I am glad I have had the opportunity to serve my country and my community. I have learned and grown on the job. Yes, I made mistakes but I was under an amazing leadership, the captain of the ship and the mentorship of a good man. They have toughened me, have made me sensitive and mindful and above all reminded me that kindness matters. I owe you both everything I am. Well done!