Greetings to you our dear readers,
Thank you for your continued interest in the work that ISEE Solutions Society does in Uganda. I hope this post finds you well and healthy.
On Tuesday 14/07/2020 I was speaking to William W. one of our partners in the Reproductive Health section and also through Mama Nguvu. William leads a team of young people who work as volunteers in an organization called HEYFU. We identified and started with HEYFU about 4 years ago and we have been working with them since then.
They are passionate about health initiatives also supporting girls and women groups within their community, this is why we have kept in touch with them as we share a similar passion.
I called him to check in on them and he said “we have been doing fine”. He said that this Covid 19 season has changed everything and has become the new normal. Everything they have had to do, has been done regarding the Covid 19 Guidelines, so most of them haven’t returned to base.
Uganda recorded another 40+ Covid 19 cases making the numbers 1,051 from last week’s 1,007 infections. Fortune is still with us as none of the infected people from now and previous have succumbed to the pandemic in Uganda. I will share with you yet another interesting story from the papers this week of yet again misuse of power or authority by police. On Wednesday 14th/08/2020 a policeman in the North Western district of Arua (call it West Nile region) shot a man in the leg for not wearing a face mask. The reports say that the policeman stopped the two men who were riding a motorcycle illegally carrying a passenger. It is important to note that in Uganda, no one can carry a passenger on a motorcycle since this was banned by the president as a way of stopping the spread of the Coronavirus. It is claimed that the policeman later shot the passenger in the leg because he had no mask. The circumstances under which this happened are not clear whether he tried to run or not but this passenger was shot in the leg and thankfully he didn’t die. These and many other stories circulate in the various news outlets week in week out but we wonder whether these policemen will be put to justice for the crimes against the people of Uganda.
Anyways this week went on as normal as it could be except the traffic delays I had today due to the rainstorm we had this morning. None the less I managed to meet Geoffrey, our new partner who joined the ISEE Solutions Society’s list of partners. He wrote us a few weeks ago with a wonderful project about brick making and youth training initiative which we thought was interesting. He is a Headteacher at one of the local primary schools in the outskirts of Kampala where he helped us in organizing a Reproductive Health Clinic at the school. Since all schools are closed and there is no source of income to care for his family, teachers like him are struggling to make ends meet. We will keep you posted about our Headteacher in the weeks to come as the project unfolds.
I spoke to Semmy S. another teacher who teaches in preschool in yet another school we worked with in 2014 and 2015. She is doing well. She is back in business and is improving her business by adding a bicycle to it. Semmy is currently dealing in a vegetable business since lockdown was initiated and has now repaired her bicycle to add delivery of groceries to customers at their doorstep. If you notice from our last reports, many of our Mamas are transferring or moving to selling vegetables as a way to survive. Some have closed their vegetable shops like Annet C because everyone around their areas is doing the same business. If Semmy has added this element of delivery, then this is a good thing because maybe it provides a competitive advantage. This also helps her to ride to the main market easily and is able to transport her groceries easily and cheaply.
Jane N who sells water to her community members is doing well. Like many other mamas Jane also has a side business making paper bags and she sells this to street food vendors. The water business has surely picked up because more and more people are going back to their work. People not being able to work was one of the biggest challenges for Jane because people were not able to afford this service. People opted to walk and fetch water from distant wells because they had the whole day to spend at home and they had no money to spend on water at that point. Especially when they had no work because of this Covid 19 lockdown initiated by the president. Thereby returning to work temporarily has helped them start buying water again which is good news for Jane. She also thought her grandson Francis would go for his monthly physiotherapy but unfortunately the doctors didn’t confirm the appointment, so she has to wait.
Things are not getting better for Francoise L. Last week she started selling food at the roadside but in the course of the week the bottom of her saucepan gave out. When I spoke to her, she was at home seated unable to work because the saucepan was broken. She needed some money to fix it but was unable to pull it together because her children the previous day had requested for some money to help them get cleaning jobs with a local company just close by where they live. They needed 30,000/- Uganda shillings to open up a bank account first, so they could get the jobs maybe because companies only pay through the bank. We sent her 30,000/- Uganda shillings to help her fix the bottom of her saucepan so she can continue to work and sustain her family. She has ordinarily been a hardworking person during the last few years but things have become hard recently. We hope that this repair of her saucepan will help her stabilize a bit.
Asia N. Mama from our 2017 group has been working hard lately to try and make ends meet but things are still hard. She initially was making school books but things became tight because of school closures due to the pandemic. She is also hired by one of the market owners to help collect taxes from market vendors as a way of raising money to help her family. She recently acquired a fridge with which she would chill drinks and sell to the market vendors. After getting the fridge she has tried to buy snacks and other small things to add to her business. We asked her to make a small budget for a few things she would want to add to her business. She submitted the budget that included Soda, water, juice and sweets which we later sent her some money to buy things. Our intention is to see how she does with these items as we can determine whether we can finance it further.
Rashida S says work is a bit slow this week. She sells groceries like onions, tomatoes, bananas and many other vegetables. This is her primary business but on the side, she makes tea and sells to the people around. The weather has been friendly a bit especially with the rains so the tea business has been good as many people are drinking it due to the cold. This is how the majority of our community of mothers will survive normally because they open up small side businesses like tea, maize roasting, chips and paper bags.
Lilly A is still undergoing treatment and the allergies she got last week are no more. It’s unfortunate that she missed her review date because she was not able to get her second medication because she didn’t have enough money to buy both medications. We supported Lilly last week to get treatment and paid for all the medication she needed at the time. When she went home her body started to react to one of the medicines she was given hence she went back to see the doctor who later prescribed another medication. It is from this second dosage that Lilly didn’t have enough money to take both medicines. When I called her this week for follow up she explained to me, saying that the allergies had disappeared but she still had some pain so when I asked why, that is when she told me that she didn’t get the second medication so I sent her an extra 15,000/- Uganda Shillings which she requested. I hope she gets the medication and gets better. Lilly is a tailor and does some very interesting work which Erika has brought to Canada a few times.
On the other hand for me, the week was very successful. I managed to meet with Geoffrey, our new partner like I mentioned at the beginning. By the end of this weekend of the 17-18th July 2020, he will have signed his lease contract for the piece of land he wanted. He will use this land to make clay bricks, which he will sell to sustain his family. For me, the interview on a project is what interests me the most because I learn new things and also see how people dream to transform their lives. I am really lucky to work alongside these people step by step throughout the whole process, to see how they change from point A to B. Thank you again to all of you who support us in various ways and we also continue to urge you to follow us on Facebook and also on our website for weekly reviews on what we are doing. Please continue to stay safe and remember to stay sociable.