It’s August 1st and my flight leaves at 11 tonight. It’s hard to believe that I have been here one month already.
What an amazing experience it has been. 1883 girls received a menstrual hygiene kit to be able to stay in school. I have charged Andrew and Anna to find another school or two for Anna to finish the presentation and distribution. I would love for our program to be able to continue whether we are here or not. Maybe this is the start of that.
We empowered 8 women with tools for their businesses. We visited many previous Mamas to learn about their success stories: Lorna with her knitting machine and now her sewing machine; Harriet who is “chasing life” as she builds her tailoring business; Francoise who is always looking to build her business and who has now added baskets to her list of items for sale; Lilly who made amazing bags to show the team and that were almost all bought… These women are hard working and inspiring.
At the same time, we already have 4 women waiting for sponsorship and we have a few women facing new challenges. One has had her land sold from under her and now needs to move, one is flooded every time it rains, one has been cursed and poisoned by her in-laws because she is starting to do well without her husband… challenges we can’t even fathom. But we keep encouraging them, trying to serve them while empowering them. We aim for each one to be successful and we hope that what we do helps bring about that success. But we are only a piece of it – as I said, these women work hard.
We visited our partners in Lamwo and learned about their successes and challenges too. We met new partners and created amazing opportunities through collaboration.
Thank you to the amazing team for all their hard work and dedication to ISEE’s work. It was an honour to be able to share my little piece of Uganda with all of them. I hope it has created a spark of excitement for all that is Uganda. Maybe some will return one day.
Thank you to Andrew, ISEE’s amazing man-on-the-ground. I would not have been able to do half of what we did without his hard work. Our debriefing sessions after supper and then our relaxing chats about life really helped me open my eyes up even more to the world around me. I cherish our work relationship and our friendship. Webale Nnyo Ssebo.
Thank you to Anna who has incredible drive and initiative. She came to us in 2013 to volunteer and is an integral part of our team now. Thanks to Betty and her team of incredible seamstresses who sewed 8000 liners and 2000 bags in only 3 months. Webale Nnyo Ssebo to Apollo as well who keeps us safe and gets us from point A to B everyday. To Sam for opening up his school to us and to all the staff who has cared for us so well.
I know you shouldn’t live looking only to the future and that you should “be” in the moment, but I do have to say only 336 days before I set my feet on Ugandan soil again.
Thank you to everyone who has supported ISEE over the years. We rely on donations from each individual so please consider donating to the work we are doing to promote sustainability, education and empowerment.
Webale Nnyo! – Erika
Reflections from team members:
“An appreciation for the Ugandan people who are resilient and creative. Amazed at the positivity, strength and “take charge” attitude of many of the Ugandan women we encountered. Most of all, I was touched by the warmth of the people and their wonderful hospitality everywhere we went.” – Liz
” Like many others I am sure, the greatest lesson I’ve taken from my time in Uganda is the generosity, kindness and resilience of the people. I have continually felt that Ugandans care for others as family, whatever their skin colour or status. They’re very respectful and their work ethic is outstanding. For a country that may not be seen as wealthy, the Ugandans are very rich with love, compassion, and a zest for life.” – Shalanne
“Sometimes I looked, sometimes I saw. Looking discouraged me, seeing warmed my heart. I met women who have courage that goes beyond the call s day to day subsistence. They are making a life for their children.” – Marie