Today had a strange feeling from the beginning: mixed with our usual excitement about what new adventures lay ahead was the sadness of knowing that three of our team members were heading back home tonight and that today was our last day all together.
We started the morning with a visit to Lily, one of the ISEE mamas who sews beautiful purses and backpacks. Lily had a few samples of her work to show us. We ended up buying everything she brought and ordering a few more bags that she will make for us before we leave. Without wanting to blow the surprise, loved ones in Canada should probably expect a purse.
Our next stop was to visit Rashida, a mama who runs a candy, grocery and tea stand. ISEE provided her with the means to expand her business and offer her customers the opportunity to purchase food with their tea. Unfortunately Rashida was not in when we dropped by and her son was running the stand.
We then visited Rovence who has a cooking and catering business. The 10 of us squeezed in around her table and had a lovely visit with her. On top of cooking and serving food right from her tiny restaurant, she also cooks and caters for large events from her home. This weekend she is catering a wedding for 300, and will be employing local people to help her. She has become a role model in her community, with her hard work she provides for her family, sends her children to school and keeps others employed. With her savings she has also managed to purchase a small property and will be building a home.
In the afternoon we visited Robert, an artist and former colleague of Erika. Together with 3 other artists, he operates a store in downtown Kampala. They try to create items that are different from what is typically found in shops: jewelry, bags, sandals, macramé slippers and purses, silk screened t-shirts and more. Sometimes we arrive in a shop like a swarm of flies feeding on carcass, we leave nothing but the bones!
We made one last stop at the Muzungu market for baggy pants and other treasures, then headed home for our last supper. James prepared our requested favourites: matooke, greens, chapatis and chicken. Now our friends Maddy, Jenaya and Jean have headed off to Entebbe Airport for an 11:30pm flight home, and we are readjusting to a different rhythm. We have learned so much from each other; the uniqueness of each individual has made the team and our presentations richer. However, the remainder are back to work tomorrow! We will be speaking and delivering kits to 300 students in a school on the outskirts of Kampala.