Mmu lembe..! (Moo – le – mba)
There is a tribe that originates in the East of Uganda, near the mountain Elgon and they are called the Bagisu. The interesting part of these people is that they have an ancient story of the beginning of man or the first man to walk this country Uganda. It is believed that he came down from the mountain Elgon with his cow. This man was called Kintu and he later met his wife called Nambi.
These are the kinds of stories we are taught in our primary school in a subject called social studies. The study of our environment, things that are around us. It is amazing how we have grown up to realize that a lot of the things that were taught to us were actually myths. It breaks my heart that both us and our kids have to undergo such an education system based on social lies. I think all humankind whether young or old, black or white deserves to be told the truth in order to create enlightenment.
October 2020 in Kampala has shaken things a bit in regards to the Covid 19 regulations. People in and around Kampala have been abusing curfew especially but since week one of October, things have changed to the good in my opinion. Police have stepped up their efforts in ensuring that people respect curfew. The roadblocks are up by 8pm in the evening, exactly one hour before curfew which is 9pm. This has ensured that all of us start running home by 7pm to avoid traffic and being caught late.
The Covid-19 situation has not improved as we have reached 10,117 cases, 6,725 recoveries and 96 deaths so far. The response to the guidelines for safety and the standard operating procedure I must say, are being followed even though not to the T. Almost all of the malls and arcades have temperature guns, hand washing facilities have been installed almost at every building and most importantly everyone is required to have a face mask whenever in public.
The good news for the education industry is that schools have been opened to only finalist candidates and this week we have been seeing a number of students starting to report to their respective schools. The schools have been asked to purchase all the required gadgets to ensure that whoever comes back to school is tested. They will also remain as boarding students and will not be visited by any other persons from outside school. This has all been done to help limit the spread of the virus, all students from outside Kampala central district were required to report to school earlier than the ones within.
This week, I was able to reach the following Mamas; Angel N, Jennifer N, Florence A, Jane N and I have spoken to Rovence N, Dorah A and Asia N.
Things have not improved much with Angel N from the last few months. The shop does not look as stocked like we had helped stock it late last year. I went to her store to check on how she was doing and I found her of course not happy. She was waiting for her usual customers but her stall was almost half empty. It is always hard for me to find our Mamas in such a situation regardless of what the circumstances have been. It is always our joy to help our Mamas to the best of our ability and if we can not at the time, we can only hope for the best for them. We want to give each Mama the best opportunity to thrive in these situations.
Jennifer is doing exceptionally this season as she closes in on the festive season. Usually it is good for the traders to start organizing themselves for the festive season and the signs are usually high sales. She is now opening 10 bales of shoes in a week and she actually told me..
“It gets better, I can double the number in the festive season.”
Their only challenge for her has been that usually they have some shoes that are not selected as quick by the usual buyers. They often take these shoes to local market places in villages and they are sold off. Now, like you might guess, the challenge is that all non-food markets have been closed so the shoes are not moving as they are supposed to.
I received a call earlier during the week to go visit Florence A., she is doing amazing work at her salon and it looks like everything is paying off. Around June this year we bought her a hair dryer to help her re-establish herself and the investment has turned out worth the while. She requested for a rent loan as she had accumulated a lot of rent arrears during the lockdown days, when all salons had been closed. The request was granted and we provided her 3 months rent, and the condition was that she paid it back when everything went well. As promised previously, she called me this week to pay back the first batch of payment. This money is what we usually move around from one Mama to another in the intent of one Mama helping another.
Thank you to all our partners for the funding that makes dreams of mamas like Florence come true.
Previously, I had mentioned in one of the last reports that Jane N., the other Mama water tank had issues relating to property loss or acquisition. There is currently a property developer breathing down her neck, trying to persuade her to sell. The challenge from my last conversation was that she was being offered little money and yet this property or land helps Jane to feed some of her children and grandchildren too. She can not offer this plot if they don’t give her the money she thinks is worth what she has on the property, including the water tank that we purchased for her 3yrs ago.
During my visit I noticed more neighbors having given in their property and their buildings knocked down. Jane is still in the struggle to get the best offer from these developers but as all of you might know, these developers usually have people they know above and can make lives hard for people like Jane. My hope is that things can go well for her so she can move her children to a better place.
On the other hand I was able to talk to Rovence N., who needed furniture for her restaurant to create more seating space to maximize her small restaurant. This week, her assignment was to look for a cost effective carpenter who would do the job she wanted. She has found one, who is going to charge her 250,000/- and I have spoken to her in the interest of repayment which she is willing to do. Sometimes these mamas need a little bit of help to figure out some of these things.
There is no positive news so far with Dorah A., the shop houses are still under construction so the owner has asked her to continue waiting until they are complete.
Asia N., is still recovering from a malaria fever she got early this week. She is interested in some kind of financial help that she needs to help her acquire some business items including a fridge. We have been in touch with each other and she is doing better. Our interest to offer the loan is there but we agreed to further our discussion when she recovers fully.
We want to thank you for all your support and donations. Please continue to follow us as most of you have received the notification that we will not be using social media platforms again. We request you to please send Erika your emails so we can send you our reports and updates.
Director of Programs,Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society.