ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

December 4 Update

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to watch a television series called “The Kindness Diaries” about a gentleman called Leon Logothetis who traveled across America relying on the kindness of people. The kindness came only from strangers he met on his way; he did not accept any cash given to him but rather it had to be an act of service like offering him a tank of gas or anything for him to use on his long journey. They offered him a bed, food, water or even just guide information that would be helpful for him. Sitting here and remembering the events that happened to him, it took him a lot of bravery to get out of his comfort zone and seek help from people who sometimes would try to ignore him. 

His main objective was to seek and find some kindness within the human race, that there is still kindness embedded in our race and his quest was to discover this along his journey. The beautiful part of this show was the fact that he also extended help to different people he met during his journey, so if someone took time to share their dreams and he had the capacity to help, he would. Kindness is one of the spirits we aspire and encourage our Mamas in the program to express to fellow Mamas. It is also my personal goal to try and help people discover kindness within themselves.

It is amazing to watch these series from start to end and how everything pans out. It took me hours to watch but lucky enough we are under lockdown, so I had all the time in the world.

I hope that you all are doing well, keeping healthy while keeping both your families and friends safe during the new Covid 19 spike in statistics. We are thankful that according to the news feeds scientists have discovered vaccines and  countries like the USA will soon start a program of vaccination. Three former American presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George Bush, will apparently act as volunteers to be videoed receiving the vaccine. This is probably a bid to help build confidence in the safety of the usage of the medicine by the public. I also read another tweet that said the President of Russia, Vladmir Putin, had ordered mass vaccination of his citizens the following week. 

{note: as of this writing, there is no definite schedule as to when the vaccine(s) will be available to the public, regardless of country, but Canada has apparently secured extra doses specifically to donate so that other countries which might otherwise be less-prioritized will have a chance to get early access. Other participants in this scheme include Germany and France. So far the US has not stated if it will also join in the effort. -ed}

This is a sign of hope that our world will be back to a new normal that is better than this previous normal that had us live on the edge of life.

This week we continued with our job to serve the women of this nation Uganda. I reached out to Prossy L, Dorah A, Sarah N, Jane N, Jennifer N, and Betty N. I also made phone call follow ups to Annet C, nor Geoffrey O and Hamida but to no fruition as I was not able to reach them.

Last week, we ended with Amina’s story about the break-in that happened in her house where she lost her documents and also a phone. This week we wanted to make an effort and at least replace her phone, and when I went to see them about this, the family opted to use this money to pay the balance on the school fees of one of her daughters. This sounded a more logical option and I couldn’t agree more. It is embedded in our culture as an organization that we listen to our partners and help them do what they feel is best, so when this happened I had to agree with them because education is obviously more important than a phone. Therefore we extended the financial help for her to make this payment so the girl continues in her educational journey.

Dorah (refrigerator in back left of photo)

After our late night delivery of the fridge to Dorah just over a week ago, I am happy to report that she is pretty happy with the little fridge we offered. It is surely power saving, so she doesn’t have to pay a lot of electricity and it also freezes so she has enough cold to keep her beverages chilled. The challenge is that she still doesn’t have enough money to stock the fridge properly so she has only a few beverages in the fridge at the moment.

Otherwise, she is doing well and the restaurant is stable at the moment. She cooks small portions because she wants to manage her clientele as she anticipates that the numbers shall increase towards and after the festive season. She seems really happy.

Betty in her new school space

Betty N., has finally moved her training school to a new location that she says is actually better. Her only challenge is that the school is a bit further out from the trading center but she is moving with at least 3 of her students. This is a good start for her. The room is bigger than the previous and it can accommodate a huge fabric cutting table, at least 6 students, a changing room and a storage shelf. She is really happy with this finding and it is in the price range she was looking for so she will be able to save more on rent. She has been able to move most of the items into the shop but is looking to bring the rest of the items in not more than a week. She has also moved her home closer so she needs not to pay a lot and spend a lot on transport costs to and from the training school. I wished her the very best from us as ISEE and success is all we want for her.

Jennifer with some of her shoes

The excitement for the season is building for Jennifer N., our secondhand-shoe seller. The festive season is closing in so she has started buying more bags every time she gets an opportunity regardless of the fact that the sales have not yet improved at the moment. Obviously one of the challenges is that the local public markets are not yet open but nonetheless she is excited to do business this season, so let’s hope it all goes well. 

Otherwise her family is doing well, all the kids are home as none of them is in a candidate class so they stay home. They receive work from school as they prepare for next school term.

Henry (Prossy’s husband) and their pig pen

There was a mixture of feelings when I visited Prossy L., because two weeks ago her pig gave birth to 5 piglets but three of them died during birth. They tried everything possible and they called the veterinary doctor during this event but it was impossible to save all of them. Speaking to them, she said that sometimes these things happen to them as farmers but they can’t give up because the recent one gave birth to 6 and they all made it. She has since taken back the later one because it was due for fertilization so they will wait to pick it up in a week.

Sarah and her goat enclosure

The same story happened to Sarah N., the goat lady whose two pregnant goats gave birth and one of them lost both its kids. She told me that they had been born a bit weak and were having some problems breathing so they too didn’t make it. 

Mama goat with surviving babies

It is really sad to see two of our Mamas practicing animal husbandry lose what they would have raised and sold for cash. Both of them did whatever they could do but nothing saved the animals. I noticed that they both had a lot of food for these animals in the animal houses so it was not an issue of not taking good care of them. Same with Maria’s chickens last week that were dying from some chicken disease that they have been trying to treat for about a week. I guess these rains usually cause some health related challenges among the animals that are kept in this tropical region of the world.

{note: of course agriculture is full of risks and challenges all across the world, and Uganda has additional factors that weigh into that. We are certain that our Mamas are experienced, trained, and supported as much as possible, but sometimes these outcomes happen. We will continue to monitor and provide assistance when and where we can. -ed.}

It is always wonderful to put across to you the experiences that I have every week. I want to thank you for always following our blogs weekly. We are sorry that sometimes the news concerning some Mamas is not always positive. I have learned that sometimes things do not go as planned, but guess what: we have to move on and keep hoping for the very best.

Thank you for always following our activities. Stay safe, keep social distancing and never forget to remain sociable. There is someone out there who needs some kindness from us.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Echel

Director of Programs, Ug

ISEE Solutions Society.

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