Greetings to you all,
I hope that you are all well as you read this blog. I am happy to write to you again in this new month. The weather here continues to confuse us and we can’t be certain whether the rains are back completely or not. This last week, we have been hit by numerous days of heat and dryness.
The just-ended month of love “February” ushered us into the women’s month as we celebrate International Women’s Day. Every single radio station here, every single organization has been sensitizing the country about Women’s Day celebrations. We love women, we celebrate women, we partner and we support them through our Mama Nguni projects. It’s a great joy that I am part of this society.
As another way of celebrating this years’ Internation Womens’ Day, I will start this week’s blog with my exciting empowering venture. I have been closely monitoring and on a weekly basis talking to Amina A. trying to assess our next course of action. This past week, we made a breakthrough after having a lengthy conversation, we finally came to a conclusion that Amina will go back into her precious yellow banana business. Several business options were looked at including selling second bedsheets but this was too demanding for someone her age and state of health. This job would have included a lot of hours of walking while vending these sheets but also there was no guarantee that she would have a daily income.
Our target for all our Mamas is to have an income-generating activity that would be able to generate some finances on a daily basis and selling second-hand bedsheets was not going to cut it for us. Amina has been able to make quite some sizable steps with her bananas in the past, being able to buy herself a bed which she hadn’t had for more than 10 years. There this week after receiving funds, I will help Amina set up her business again. I believe that this is the best course of action for this particular mama.
Christine N’s pigs are doing okay, at least the last two. Most of her pigs were affected by the swine fever that tortured animal farmers in the last four months and Christine managed to save only two. Among the remaining two, one of them is pregnant and the other one is going to be taken to see a male pig in one of our other Mama’s sty. This is Christine’s hope to revive her animal farming practice.
Christine’s second business of poultry was doing well until a stray cat in the community found a way into the poultry house. The cat found a hole in the roof of the house and through this hole, they have lost over 20 birds. She kept wondering how they were disappearing so one day she sat in the poultry house and saw chick feet on the floor. She then started to look around and discovered a big hole in the roof. They sealed it and they have never lost a chick from that day on.
Maria A’s two pigs are doing well. Both of them a pregnant at the moment. Just like Christine, Maria is also counting on these two pigs to revitalize the farm. Luckily, she was not affected directly by the fever but rather last month her daughter gave birth to a healthy baby boy but under C-Section. They had to sell 3 pigs to help mitigate some of the costs. She is planning to help Christine’s one pig get pregnant using her male.
Otherwise, everything is okay, her garden looks green and lush so they are getting enough feeding at the moment.
Annet had a bad day today and the previous day. This was because these two days were so hot and this type of weather is not good for her business. Annet N. prepares tea and porridge by the roadside and it is an early day business so the cooler the weather in the morning, the better the business for the day.
Otherwise, she is well and her children are doing well in school.
Jane N., Francis’ grandmother, is currently enjoying her poultry business. She was able to raise and sell her chicks, only losing a few. She has now decided to get the second round of chicks and see if she will continue in good luck too.
Jane originally sells water to her community but the demands she has including Francis who is a special needs child put a lot of burden on her especially the medical care he requires. Over the years, we have been speaking to them in the effort of starting up an income-generating business for him as a way of supporting him. They started out with piggery and this is going on as well but space is limited. Poultry has seemed to be a more viable option and they are trying their luck because Poultry does not require as much space as a pigsty.
Angel N. is continuing to do okay with her vegetable stall so this is a good thing. The veggie stall was the business she was able to do in order to stay home and care for her home and children. Angel initially was running a grocery business that sold household items like soap, salt, water, beans, rice posho, and other small items. This business was okay but it was a bit far away from home and she took two taxis back and forth every day. She decided to start another business that would help her manage her home responsibilities and remain empowered.
Her children now are able to go to school and come back home without going to the shop and wait for her till she closed for the day. Her kids have also been able to go to school consistently without being sent home for fees so she is very happy.
The struggle to get a business house and location continues for Dorah A. who has been house hunting for more than 5 months now. She has tried o involve house brokers who usually have information about the availability of houses for rent but all in vain. All the houses they have gotten for her so far have not satisfied her need both location and finance-wise.
Prossy L. continues to spend more time caring for her ill mother. She too, like most of our piggery farmers, lost several of her older pigs to the fever. She was lucky though that she had a few young ones that survived. Her husband Henry is currently helping take care of the remaining pigs. They have been lucky that they have been getting a few showers of rain so the remaining pigs at least have food from their gardens.
I followed up with Asia who has been having a hard time doing business in the market recently and nothing seems to be changing. I encouraged her to look harder because things are not easy sometimes. She still thinks leaving the country is one of the best options but that might not be true. One of our major worries is the fact that she has 7 children and the oldest is not even 16yrs of age. She had an option to start a small restaurant but feared the amount of capital investment, capital that she doesn’t even have. I have encouraged her to write down her requirements and see what it looks like. It may be a better option than the Arab Nations that have seemingly given refuge to many Ugandans seeking employment opportunities.
I also made contact with Anna M. and she is doing okay. She is one of our Mamas who lives outside town so I usually make phone calls and we schedule a meeting. Anna is doing her snack baking business and next week, I might have a meeting with her because I might have some business at that end of town.
On a sad note this week, I received a call from the husbands of one of our really good Mamas reporting of her involvement in a motor accident. Hadijah was traveling back to Kampala after attending the burial of her stepsister when the taxi she was sitting in tried to overtake another truck. It was unfortunate that by the time he attempted to overtake, there was another car coming from the opposite direction. In the attempt to save the car and the people, he slummed into a roadside trench hurting several people including Hadijah. Hadijah broke her left leg from the ankle and she was lucky to be transferred from the government hospital just in time to save her leg. She had sat for a few minutes without anyone attending to her so someone helped her call her brother who works closest to the scene. As luck had it on that day, her brother was sitting at home and he was able to get there on time. Her brother called her husband who was also able to get someone to ride him to Jinja. He was lucky that he had a brother with him at the time he received the call so his brother volunteered to drive him as he would have not been in the right start of mind to ride.
Hadijah was able to get treatment and a cast was put on her foot. She was then discharged after two days. She will be required to go back because the fracture was a compound one so the need to assess the progress of the healing was imminent.
I also followed up on two little boys, Jeremiah and Jordan, as it was reported to me that they had fallen sick and hadn’t been able to attend school. These two boys (grandkids) belong to Lorna and Francoise respectively. It was good news to hear that both have since recovered well and were able to return to school. Jeremiah had caught measles and Jordan woke up in the night with swollen lips and he was crying. For Jordan, it was worse because he had to spend the night in the hospital.
The other Mama on my radar constantly is Florence. I have been speaking to her as they work on her wedding preparations. Her wedding happens in about a month. Everything seems to go okay and wedding meetings have started to happen.
I would like to continue to appreciate all of you who have continued to follow our work and our blogs weekly. It is always a pleasure writing to you and using this platform to keep you all posted on our endeavours.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society