Greetings to you all,
I hope that you are all doing well. I am specifically concerned about everyone because the number of infections continues to rise across the globe regardless whether it is African or the Americas. I have particularly heard that some States in the US are reclosing schools and restaurants this week.
Here in Uganda, things are not any better as presidential campaign violence and police brutality continues to increase. Between 18th and 19th November we have at least recorded 7 deaths and over 45 related injuries during campaigns reported by local media houses. These violent tendencies were spiked by the arrest of the leading opposition candidate called Robert Kyagulanyi during his campaign in the Eastern Region of Uganda. Many youths and supporters of Mr. Robert Kyagulanyi in the downtown areas of Kampala have started rioting and burning tires and other items as they closed roads within the city. We can only hope and pray that these acts of violence stop. One of the people who died from a stray bullet was a woman vending food. It is reported that this lady was carrying food from one building to another and this is when she was hit by a bullet in the head.
This particularly concerns me because it’s our work that tries to help empower women like these and many others to provide their families with opportunities to better their lives and families. This is why we can only hope that this ends peacefully because life is more important than anything in this world so we ought to protect and preserve life because we live only once.
It is because of the events above that my week was cut short on two particular days because it was impossible to go beyond the city center to visit our Mamas. I only managed to get ahold of the following; Gertrude N, Dorah A, Francoise L, Rovence N, Pulakiseda and Margaret N.
I made contact with Gertrude N., because we needed to move the ISEE fridge to Dorah A. Gertrude previously closed her stationery because of two reasons, one being her education and the other is that she had not enough time to get a good business location for her computer and stationery shop. Last year we transferred this same fridge to Gertrude from Jennifer K because she had to close business. Anyways to cut the long story short, I spoke to Gertrude and she gave us back the fridge to give to Dorah as we all know she started her restaurant this past week and she needed one. There was no reason to store the fridge if another Mama could use it.
Dorah A. was really excited to receive the fridge although she had to wait for me until about 8pm when I was able to deliver the fridge to her restaurant. Dorah has kicked off well with her business and the growth is evident, and she has even let another young man use some of her space to sell roasted chicken. It really excites me when I see young people helping one another to grow especially in a time such as this where we are trying to fight unemployment and poverty at large. I delivered the fridge and on behalf of ISEE we wished Dorah the best of luck in the many endeavors ahead of her.
I gave Rovence an assignment last week about her furniture because I was not happy with what the carpenter had delivered for cash worth. She then called the carpenter and denied him his final pay because the measurements he took were not the one delivered so she used the balance to hire some else to deliver an extra table and two stools which ended up being a good deal for the restaurant. Now her customers have two high tables and proper seats so they can enjoy the food and most importantly Rovence is really happy with the general outlook plus she also painted her wall green. I hope that moving forward this investment continues to improve her business as we close in on the year.
Margaret N., continues to do her tailoring during this pandemic era. I was really happy to see her working even with her pain in the lower foot. She still has some pain in her right foot and the medication she is given does not seem to help much. Otherwise, she is well and was really happy to see me because it had been a while since I last saw her. The business is keeping her moving as it is important for her to earn some side income for herself and family.
Always one of the most fascinating visits are with Francoise L., who has a challenging and eventful life. Her story has been detailed here before (on the blog) and she is one of the people who personally help me keep going because I have not seen many women like her who fight everyday and still have a hope for a better tomorrow. She has shifted from business to business and still keeps going. These past few months she has been doing roadside food vending, this time by the railway line. The weather has not been good to them because it has slowed business particularly for her as she has no tent for her customers to sit. The rains have fallen in the last few days so they have taken back food home a couple of times. Otherwise she is doing okay and we hope the rains can fall later in the day for the next few weeks so she can pick up a bit.
This week I had an assignment to buy a few groceries and of course I had to go get it from one of our very own Pulakiseda. She is doing really well. The challenge was that as soon as she had just handed over the items to me, the riots started in her marketplace. I had to get the quickest means out of that place and she later called me also telling me that she had to run out of the market. I was glad she managed to make it home safely and I have been trying to reach some of our Mamas to see how they are doing.
This week surely has been one of the most challenging weeks this year because it has been filled with a lot of violence. Majority of us were not able to accomplish our goals this week because of these events. The world is struggling with a pandemic already and the least we need is some avoidable craze like electoral related violence as we can decide not to be involved in it.
Please continue to send us positive thoughts as we go through these very tough times as we prepare for our Presidential Elections next year.
Thank you for all the support you give us as an organization and please continue.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society