Today, we visited some of the Mama Nguvu recipients to see how they were doing and to let the team meet these lovely ladies.We did not see Irene as she was in the village dealing with family issues but we connected with the rest.
We saw Margaret at Kiwuliriza on Monday and Tuesday. She is making uniforms and dresses in her spare time when she is not overseeing the students during the school day or monitoring the 65 children who board at the school at night. She says her sewing machine is doing very well.
Achayo Martha, not Marina as we had originally thought, is selling smoked fish at the market near the Namuwongo slum. She says that there are fewer fish at the moment because the winds are up so the fishermen are catching less. She also says that Ramadan has affected the fish sales. She is having to pay the previous renter’s back-rent owed to the owner but is making a minimum of 10,000 shillings per day. A sack of fish costs her 50,000 shillings.
We then walked to Lorna’s home to see how the knitting machine was working. She’s having some problems with the pattern cards but will get someone to help her make them work. She has made and sold 7 sweaters and is getting more orders for sweaters for children, adults and for schools. She sells her sweaters for 15,000 a piece.
Françoise was thrilled to share her bar with us and offered us a cup of her millet brew. No-one took any! She is selling more than she can produce. There were two people already in her bar at 10am and she said that the brew she had made for today was already sold out. She is buying the millet, drying it, grinding it into a powder then going through the fermentation process to get a good final product. A cup costs about 800 shillings.
Adrine has changed locations for her popcorn sales so that she is no longer next to her brother who is also selling popcorn. She is looking good and said that the machine was working well. We bought three bags of popcorn from her at 500 shillings a bag. She was the smiliest I’ve seen.
Our last stop was with Rashida who invited us all into her stall to talk about her business. She has also been affected by Ramadan but knows that her business will pick back up. She was very proud to report that all her children are in school and her debts are all paid except for the final payment for her child in P7. She offered us a cup of her chai and sold us a few of her spices.
I was thrilled to see everyone. They were all smiles and happy to see us. We still have a few Mamas hoping to be sponsored before we go and as we were walking through the slums, several ladies came to us and asked if there was any progress on their applications. Poor Andrew kept having to tell them that they had to wait but that not everyone was selected. Having presented about reproductive health to 300 women in the community, many recognised us as well and greeted us as we walked by. It was a very satisfying day!