Greetings to you all,
I hope that you are well. As the pandemic situation continues to loom over the world, this past week I was able to get my second and hopefully the final vaccine for COVID 19. I was scheduled to have my second jab on 27th October. It all went well and much quicker than the last time. The tent at City Hall had just about 40 people divided into two segments for each of the two vaccines that are available, Pfizer on the left and AstraZeneca on the right.
Uganda has tested over a million people with over 126,000 cases positive and over 96,000 recoveries. The figures for vaccinations are continuously increasing and have now reached just over three million people of which I have become one of them. I have been very lucky to be one of the few Ugandans who have been able to get the two vaccines in just one month.
This last week, I was able to continue with some of my work even though I had to take off two days as my body recovered after the vaccine. I reached out to Florence A, Francoise L, Rashida S, Lilly A, Jennifer N, Amina A, and Justine N.
Florence A. has been doing well. The businesses have been growing over the last 6 to 8 months. She has diversified from the hair salon to deep-fried snacks, popcorn, beverages, and most recently a toy store. Unfortunately, she had to close the toy stall section because it seemed just a bit overwhelming for her.
During my visitation, she was plaiting hair for one of her clients. She was happy and said that the salon had picked up in recent times. She said that she had plans to shop for salon items as she prepares for the festive season. She continued to say that as it approaches fastly so to speak, the prices of some or most of the hair products seem to increase so she wants to be prepared.
She has also told me that both her kids have been able to enroll in coaching classes as they prepare to join school next year. She doesn’t want them to lag when school reopens.
Francoise L. has been doing well over the last few months. Her cooking business seems to be picking up well and stabilizing well. She has learned to manage her demand and supply well because she said she has reduced the quantity of food from 7kgs to 5kgs of maize every day. This has helped to ensure that all the food she prepares gets finished every day hence leaving no wastage.
The challenge for her has been her son suffering from cerebral malaria. He has been struggling with recovery and medication. The previous medication was not treating him well at all but luckily enough the doctor was able to change his prescription and he is now coping well. During my discussions with Francoise, I discovered that the boy’s appointment at the hospital was that day and that in fact he was nearly late according to the medical form she showed me. I was glad to facilitate his transport to and from the hospital. They called me later to say thank you and also say they were able to get to the hospital in time.
Otherwise, she is doing well, she looks healthy and I am glad she is managing her business well this time around.
Rashida S. is also doing well. It was unfortunate that the past two visits to her stall, I was unable to find her. The first time, she had gone shopping for vegetables at the main market and on the second occasion, she had lost her sister. The sister had been suffering from some illness that they were never able to discover but several tests were carried out during her illness days.
Otherwise, her business has not been doing well the last few months. The charcoal of course is okay because it doesn’t get spoiled because it is stored well but the vegetables have been going bad and drying out. She has since decided to reduce the quantities but it has not helped much and she attributes this to the fact that many women have joined this trade due to the pandemic. This influx of stalls has contributed to the drop in numbers of her customers because these vegetable stalls have mushroomed in the nearby community.
She shared something that made me laugh or be happy because she had plaited her hair a day ago and she said that she felt the need to appreciate herself. Rashida had gone through some tough times over the last few weeks and losing her sister was the tipping point. She decided to go treat herself to a salon experience just to feel good about herself. Rashida said for the last couple of months she was paying coaching or tutoring fees for her daughters and the first opportunity she got, Rashida treated herself to a salon.
Lilly A. has been having it tough for the last few weeks because her sewing machine broke. About two weeks ago, Lilly hired more than three mechanics to try and fix the machine but all of them have failed. She has contacted one last mechanic to come and inspect the machine to see what the next course of action will be. If he fails, she will know that it is time for the machine to let it go. She has had it for more than 12 years and she bought it as a second-hand machine.
She promised to update me on the progress and if it remains that way, we will help her get another machine. She has a lot of work waiting for her at the moment and she needs this machine to be fixed sooner rather than later.
Jennifer N is doing so well with her second-hand shoe business. She has since changed from one type of shoes to another category of shoes. I think it was from ordinary shoes to boots for men. She told me that this category seems to have good quality shoes and they are moving faster than ordinary shoes. They also attract more money as boots are more expensive in pricing.
The only downside in her life is the challenge that she has not been able to get placement for her son in secondary school but she is also positive that she will find something for him. Otherwise, her whole family has been okay and the fact that business has not been bad makes it even better. She is also able to take care of her children’s educational needs and tutorial requirements.
Amina A has been very busy in the last few weeks as she was preparing and organizing the funeral rites for her husband. Mid- year Amina lost her husband to injuries suffered during his illegal arrest after a shooting occurred in the area where he was riding his motorcycle. It was unfortunate that the shooters fled on a motorcycle so the police decided to stop and arrest all motorcycle riders around the area. He was one of the victims and he was arrested, taken to one of the holding houses, and tortured for days. He was later released and given back his motorcycle. He went home and fell sick for days. Amina’s husband had separated from her but he eventually called and asked her to pick him up because he felt like he was dying. Amina was able to pick him up but it was too late and he died that very night he was brought home.
In Islamic religion, when someone dies it is very important that this certain prayer is carried out because it is believed that the soul of the dead will haunt you and you will not have peace. A few weeks ago, we had helped Amina restart her banana business. She had used up all her saving in performing this ceremony and needed to have another go at her business. She loves her banana selling business because of the advancement it has brought to her life from being able to afford meals to buying a bed and mattress for the first time in over 15yrs.
She is now partly surviving on people hiring her plates and metallic trays for gatherings at mosques and small parties. She was able to buy these during the good days of her business when she sold bananas.
Justine N has been having some challenges with her leg muscles as she started to cramp a lot in the last two weeks. She went to see a doctor who gave her some medication to help relieve the pain. She swallowed them and the pain disappeared until the medication was done. The pains returned two days later after the medication was finished and she went back to see the doctor, he prescribed another medication that would last longer but also treat the condition better. She was worried about the price but we were able to meet part of the medication bill.
On a sad note in our country, in the last one week, we had two bombings and they claimed the lives of 3 people in total. One was at a drinking joint and the other was in a bus traveling to Mbarara, the Western part of this country. We hope that this is the last of this kind of event. We have had a few insecurity issues in lower parts of this country, where a group of people were killed using machetes for unknown reasons. They killed over 27 people in the areas of Masaka district in just a month.
These bombings cause tension in the country, we hope this was the last of a kind. A lot of awareness campaigns have been carried out by police and they have asked people to be more conscious of security and suspicious luggage left unattended.
Director of Programs, Uganda.
ISEE Solutions Society