Greetings to you all,
I hope that we are well. I am sorry to hear about the continuing fires in Canada especially now that it is closing in on Kelowna where most of my friends live. I hope that they are safe. Erika shared a few pictures of what it looks like in their city and it is so sad compared to the pictures I have seen from before. It is saddening to see how the world is turning upside down with a deadly pandemic and now wildfires across Canada and America. We are sending you all the best wishes and positive thoughts as you go through these tragedies.
The situation for us here in Uganda has not changed as we are still struggling to contain the spread. This time round more people are wearing masks and washing hands more diligently than before. It is a pleasant sight to see that we have become more adaptive to the situation but I am not sure I can say the same for the government and the hospitals here. I guess the fact that the people have no hope in the system, they are doing the best they can to protect themselves.
This week I was able to actually complete my Covid Fund Relief task by physically reaching the homes of the few Mamas I was not able to catch by phone. I visited Cissy N, Prossy L, Rehema N and Harriet L who I had initially failed to find. I also dropped by along the way to see a few Mamas as a routine check to see how they are doing like Francoise, Semmy S, Rashida, Aida, Catherine and Lilly.
The stories that stood out for me this week come from Francoise, Semmy and Hadijja.
A few days ago, I received a call from Hadijja thanking us so much for the Relief Fund we sent her because it came at a time when the landlord was chasing her out of the house. Hadijja is one of our Mamas who runs a roadside chips stall. She told me that this lockdown thing had been hard and that all the profit she was making was just to feed them. Literally hand to mouth daily, she could not afford to save for rent. Now the challenge is that she had just been evicted from the previous house just a few months ago. She called me with an excitement that is hard to explain but she was really grateful for the intervention. This is why it is on top of the lists of my favorite stories because the intervention was timely and meaningful. Hadijja has a baby girl who is about 1.5yrs now and I would hate that she is tossed around like this. Thank you ISEE Solutions Society.
The other story is from Semmy S. Semmy is a nursery school teacher and has not been able to get any meaningful work since the first lockdown almost a year and a half now. She had hopped from one thing to another, vegetable stall, juice making and children coaching, all of them just kept her going for a while but eventually she couldn’t keep doing them. Last week I sent her her portion of Relief and she called me to thank me for the money. This week I visited her and she told me of the money we sent her, she used 40% to buy ingredients for liquid soap making. She made a few litres of liquid soap and by the end of the week she had already gotten her returns. She was so excited sharing this story with me and I am really glad that she didn’t only spend the money on buying food but she thought about multiplying it. She offered me a sample but I would rather she sold it for money for her family. I am really happy that some of the Mamas have really taken advantage of this little opportunity they had.
The other one is Francoise who decided that she would get that money and restart her food business again. She has been sick for a while now and was diagnosed with TB which eventually led us to paying her medical bill and also paying for her feeding for a while. When she got this money, Francoise decided to buy beans and maize to restart her business. She is a bit sickly and surely needs something to do so she can stay healthy and focused to help her kids. She is lucky that some of the kids have since moved out and she remains with the last two. With this small business she will be able to manage her family financial affairs in the meantime.
Lastly I was really happy to finally deliver the final batch to the last group like I said in the beginning;
It was unfortunate that I was not able to see Prossy in person this time but I met her husband at home. Prossy had traveled to the village to help take care of her ailing mother. Henry was now in charge of taking care of the home and the animals. I must say that he has done well. The animals look good although he had been struggling with feeding them. He was really excited and he wanted to call Prossy but her phone was not reachable.
I was able to meet Cissy in person and deliver the money to her. Her phone was still unreachable but she gave me an alternative number that I could use in the meantime. She was really happy and she said she wanted to buy a few building materials to help finish her unfinished stall.
Rehema had just returned from picking her medication from her contact hospital. I was happy to see her as it had been awhile. She was very happy and really excited to receive her funds. She has lots of children and grandchildren and I just don’t know how she keeps up but she does. She is still doing laundry for her neighbors as her main source of income.
Harriet L the tailor has not yet found her business shop but she was very happy that we thought about her this way, she said. She told me that her husband had not yet received any pay because he was not going to work because of the lockdown. “..omg, thank you Andrew” she said. “We have not been working and my husband has not received pay yet.” She said she can now buy food for the children.
Lilly the tailor is doing well. I met her in her shop working on one of the table cloth orders she got. I am glad that she is at least back in the shop and that her section of the market is open. She had been struggling during the 42 days lockdown.
Catherine N. has been doing well helping her mother Lorna in the restaurant the last few weeks. Lorna has been a bit busy with some voluntary work at the clinic helping her peers in dealing with prolonged illness. Catherine helps to run the restaurant along with her samosa business. She was happy too to receive her package.
Aida K is not doing very well lately. She has been selling less and less of her chips because of the lockdown. She said that it has not yet picked up even after the lockdown was lifted but she will keep at it.
I am really grateful that I had the opportunity to travel and see these Mamas once again, and be able to touch base with them at their homes. I can feel the sense of relaxation around them now that the lockdown was lifted. Most of them are trying to pick themselves up and that is enough motivation for me. They are happy and each is carrying a bit of a smile on their faces, a sign of hope and betterness. This is one of the reasons I love doing this job everyday, because I get to experience a satisfaction and joy beyond comprehension.
This is why I thank you for empowering us as we empower these strong women who support their families regardless. We will never stop appreciating you that is for sure and like most of them say, “May God bless you all” and one of them this week added “Surely may all of you be granted the desires of your hearts.”
Please stay safe, and for all my friends who have become family in the areas in and around Kelowna, my heart is with you.
Director of Programs, Uganda.
ISEE Solutions Society.