Greetings to you all,
I hope you are well and keeping safe.
The Covid situation here in Uganda is still uncertain for most of us. I was speaking to a friend of mine whose job is to closely monitor and report to her organization about the situation. She told me that our official government statistics do not add up because the claimed number of the people recovering is actually more than the reported total number of infections. This got us both confused. The Ministry of Health does not carry out enough regular tests either. The last statistical update on Covid-19 in Uganda is already two days old. We are still under 1% of our population vaccinated with at least 122,000 people infected and at least 3,129 deaths so far.
This week I visited and talked to the following Mamas; Harriet L, Jane N, Irene L, Lilly A, Rashida S, Amina A, Semmy S and Peter
Harriet L is doing well. She finally found a shop in which she is doing her sewing from. She has been looking for a place for over a year now. Previously the places she was able to get were not good for business, especially market and security wise. When I met her, she told me that her friend was leaving the country to go work in the Arab world and so Harriet was able to take over the location. It is a very common phenomenon for Ugandans, especially middle aged, to leave Uganda in search of jobs across Arab nations. Over the last several years, many young people are trying to leave the country to go and work abroad, mainly because of limited employment opportunities. Most parents have been scammed by employment agencies making them sell off their property like land to pay for their children to get jobs.
Anyways back to Harriet, her friend left her the shop but it is still uncertain how long she will be in this shop because it is so close to the railways line and the government is on course to revive this transportation system. This is going to affect most people and businesses along the railways line and surely it will affect Harriets’ shop. We spoke about it and both of us seemed to agree that this shop is too close and it will have to go.
For Jane N the water tank two and her relocation plans seem to be on hold for the moment. I spoke to her during the week to ask about the agreed settlement on the plot she is living on but it seems the developers are taking their time. They had previously agreed in principle about the payment and reconstruction of the house plus a small settlement fee. I will keep following up this situation because we have an interest in the tank we helped Jane acquire about four years ago. It is still in top shape and it can be removed and taken to the new site when located. Our interest is to ensure that when she moves to wherever she goes, this tank should go along with her.
It is sad this past week that Irene got into an accident on a boda-boda (motorcycle) while she was taking her son to the hospital. She fell so badly and hit her head on the tarmac road. She tried to get up but she passed out. She woke up the next day on a hospital bed and she couldn’t speak well. I went to see her, she had bandages on her head and her speech was slurred.
She needed a head scan to see what the problem was because the doctors thought she might have some fluid collecting in her skull. She needed a lot of money to have the scan done on top of draining the fluid. Her friends from the market helped her by collecting some money but it was not enough, so we helped top it up and she got the scan.
Irene got the scan and the fluid was removed from beneath her skull. I called to follow up on her and her caretaker said that she was okay and that her speech had already improved. Her caretaker also said that Irene was smiling more and happier too.
Lilly A is doing well. She has had more tablecloth orders that she is working on. My previous meeting with her she was working on about three sets of tablecloths and it seems like the market is slowly opening up for her. We hope that this trend will continue for her as we edge closer to the festive season. Usually it’s around this time that such items are bought because people are always looking to redecorate their houses during and for Christmas itself. Our fingers are crossed for her.
Rashida S is doing well with her vegetable stall and charcoal store. She is happy with the way things are going for her, her kids are doing well and they are also constantly attempting school work in the meantime. Rashida is very dedicated to helping her children have an education. While speaking to her, she always laments the fact that she never got an opportunity to study and maybe that is why she ended up on the streets selling vegetables and charcoal.
She said, “My children come to work with me here but I don’t want them to end up like me.” Rashida wants them to learn from her experience so that they achieve more in life.
Semmy S is doing okay too with her tutoring gig as it has become more permanent as she reports to the pupil’s home five times a week. The extended closure of schools means that she will continue in this job along with her side business in selling liquid soap. This is a good thing for her that she keeps these two opportunities running.
Semmy and her husband separated, leaving her with three children, about two years ago. He was very abusive both physically and verbally, and one particular time he beat her up and in the aftermath Semmy decided to leave him. She has struggled over the years and this is why it is important to me that her businesses continue to thrive.
Amina A has been up and down through this season and as we speak she is undergoing treatment for malaria. Her business is still on hold as she still battles some stigma around the community. She was telling me that she had a physical fight with one woman who came to her house and started arguing and abusing her. She lost her cool and slapped her so the woman reported Amina to police and she has been going back and forth to the station until the matter is settled completely. I will continue to check on her and see how she progresses as we seek another course of action.
Lastly, I spoke to Peter and they are doing okay. Flavia his wife is still struggling to nurse the baby because her body doesn’t seem to be able to produce milk for the baby. He reached out to us and we sent him some money to be able to purchase the formula he will need for the next few weeks. I have also made lots of attempts to try and find Geoffrey O our head teacher who has been making bricks but all in vain. He doesn’t pick up my calls so I will resort to a physical search. He might not be well so I have to find out.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society.