ISEE Solutions

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An update on hampers; plus, Andrew plays Santa

Happy December everyone.

This holiday season is looking to be the strangest any of us have ever experienced, and in times of turmoil and upheaval it’s only normal to want to cling even more strongly to the traditions and rituals that remind us of who we are.

One of the ways that we personally experience our tradition is through the giving of gifts, and we thought that perhaps a few of you might as well. A few weeks ago we reached out to you, our friends and supporters, and told you about our Christmas Hamper idea.

Boy, did you folks come through.

We have had overwhelming support from numerous people, especially Mary W. and family, and are so honoured to be able to purchase and share some excellent baskets of Christmas joy. All of our Mamas will be receiving a basket full of foodstuffs, and due to your overwhelming generosity we have been able to offer baskets to other people whose stories have graced these pages.

Andrew has been tasked with the logistical challenge of sourcing, assembling, and delivering these baskets over the next two weeks. It will be a big job. We thought it only fair to give him a break from his weekly updates, but he has gone ahead and written a mini-version. It appears below.

We will continue to post updates over the next two weeks leading to Christmas. Mainly these will be photos but Andrew may sneak in a paragraph or two of observations as well.

Once again, thank you so much for all you do. I hope Operation: Christmas Hamper becomes a new tradition for us and for our Mamas.


some of the bulk items ready to be packed

Over the last few years, I have been listening to Pentatonix music and one of my favorite songs is “That’s Christmas to Me”. When I watched the video, the editor tried to show us short stories of how the 5 people shared their Christmas. 

To me this Christmas is very specific as it reminds me of the Christmases I had for the first 16 years of my life, just before I lost my dad in the wake of 2006. We used to make lists of items that we would need during the festive season. When I was given the opportunity to put a list of things that could fit in our Christmas hamper for our Mamas, all I could think about was the list we made at home. This included rice, beef, chicken, baking flour and many other little things like soda that were the cherry on the Christmas celebration. This brought me so many memories that flooded my mind all through this week. 

buying soda, first batch
this is actually only half of the first batch of soda that Andrew bought. They take up lots of space…

I want to thank Mary for the opportunity to share in a special way these little memories ahead of me. I feel somewhat like a Santa this year and I can’t wait to share the joy they have. This year has been particularly difficult for most of the families that we share with and this opportunity to provide a hamper was such a welcomed idea when I first caught wind of it. I couldn’t wait to start the assignment. It has kept me busy both on the physical and emotional level and I have loved it. I just can’t wait to start delivering maybe Friday or Monday next week. I can’t wait to play Santa for the first time in my life, to bring joy to the families that we serve. None of them is expecting it even the people we bought from i.e Angel and Pulakiseda. 

Pulakiseda measuring out food
portions of salt

I have successfully bought all the Sugar, Rice, Baking flour, salt, soap, beans, cooking oil, soda and on a daily basis I will buy the bread and margarine. These are more perishable so we will buy them on a daily basis when I go to deliver. 

2KG bags of rice

Each of our 40 plus Mamas will get a bucket full of these items delivered at their door steps. It will be such a joy to share this moment with them. I know it will be different especially with the Covid 19 regulations but for the families who might not afford to buy food this festive season, through our partners we will make this Christmas memorable to these families and children. 

Angel and her sister
Pulakiseda’s shop stocked with items
Pulakiseda and her son

One of the reasons why we opted to buy from our Mamas especially the two i.e Angel and Pulakiseda is because we also wanted to support their businesses. Angel has been suffering to boost her business so by buying from her, we ensured that her capital is boosted by buying these items from them. Rather than having to buy from someone else I took the pleasure to support the same Mamas we are trying to pull out of this periodic poverty. 

I will start to pack the hamper this Friday and by the time the weekend is done, I will have the first hampers ready for delivery. 

I am so excited like a kid on candy. 

Thank you 

Andrew Echel 

Director of Prog, Ug

ISEE Solutions Society

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