Greetings to you all,
I hope all of you are doing well.
The conditions here have been good as we are presented with several days of heat and sun but sometimes we are blessed with some heavy downpours which is a typical tropical kind of climate.
The political climate has been relatively good until this past weekend when we lost our current Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Speaker Jacob Oulanya (RIP). He had been flown in and out of the country for treatment and his final flight was to Seattle where he succumbed to an unknown illness. He was such a good man if I must say. Our condolences to his family and the entire nation of Uganda.
In these last several days I had the privilege to visit a few Mamas:
Salume S. secured a tender to supply liquid soap to the school during this term and as long as covid 19 regulations will still be followed in her school. The school buys one 20ltr can of liquid soap every week which they dilute in small quantities to supply the handwashing project. Her teaching profession is also going well and at the time of my visit, she was preparing homework for her pupils.
Justine N. has decided that she is done with cooking. A few months ago, she embarked on a saving scheme to help her transition and has saved quite a substantial amount of money to buy herself a fridge. Justine wants this fridge for her to sell ice and other beverages along with her veggie stall. The beverage business will help replace the snack deep-frying business that Justine has been indulging in for the last 15 years or so. She also continues to rent her saucepans.
Rovence is experiencing numbness and heat pains in her arms every night for the last year. She accessed some medication but the burning effect is still there. The restaurant business is slow because Christians and Muslims tend to fast during this period so her customers are not having lunch as much as they usually have. The good thing is that she has hired someone to cook in the fire and Rovence only does the serving of the food. This helps her to know how many plates she serves and how much money she makes from a certain amount of food purchased.
Irene L’s salon is doing very well for itself and its number of customers has continued to increase in the past few days. The situation of her living has continued to deteriorate because her sister has asked her to leave her house and Irene now lives in her salon with her son. She lays a mattress on the floor of the salon every night so they can sleep. The good thing is that regardless of the hardships everywhere else, Irene has decided to ensure that her salon rent is paid every month. She will search for a relatively cheaper house that she can stay in because her salon is too close to the railway line and the eviction is on. This means that when the eviction starts, Irene and her son will be homeless so an intervention has to happen now.
Another person who I tend to worry about is Harriet L. Harriet’s tailoring shop is so close to the railway line just like Irene’s salon. Actually, during my conversation with Harriet, the train passed but several people had put their merchandise on the train track so when they heard the sound of the train, they had to move their goods. It was such a dangerous sight when it was happening as the train was coming too fast, something that could easily harm people or destroy their businesses. I have requested Harriet to seriously consider finding another place for her business before it is too late. She was last week shown the eviction notice and many have started moving.
Dorah A. is continuing to do well with her restaurant but it continues to happen from her home because of the difficulty in finding space. The gentleman who she hired from the last shop contacted her to see if she still needs the house. Dorah told him that if he wants her to rent it then he has to reduce its price. One of the reasons Dorah left was that she did not want to accumulate arrears during the lockdown. We also had the opportunity to look at her local chickens and rabbits again. She unfortunately lost the last batch due to disease but the two female rabbits are pregnant at the moment.
I managed to catch Lorna at her volunteer work with her local health clinic. She is there every Saturday working with HIV positive mothers to help them with several things including keeping their babies safe from infection. Lorna’s business is doing well and Catherine, her daughter, continues to impress her. Catherine is a talented young girl but has been struggling with her work over the last two years. Recently, she picked up herself and she started looking for more clients to serve or deliver her wonderful samosas.
Francoise L. is doing okay. A few weeks ago, a group of new customers started eating her food every evening. They agreed with her that they would eat in the morning and pay every evening when they came back from their workplaces. This was a good deal and it would help Francoise finish the day’s food stock. They accumulated their debt for about 10 days and disappeared. Francoise reconnected with one of them who eventually took her to their workplace and Francoise spoke to their supervisor who blamed them and compensated her. I was also able to see a healthy Jordan as well as Jolly. She is in her final days of the salon training. Hopefully, after this experience in school, she will be able to get a job and help her mother.
I was able to work with Amina this week and get her set up with her yellow banana business. She also takes care of several kids including some that were abandoned by their parents to go to the Arab countries to work. In the photo, Amina is standing with a little girl who was dropped by her house at barely 3 months old because her mother had to go. The reason why I follow her up is that she takes care of people like these and sometimes they eat one meal a day or even not.
Finally, I had the opportunity to travel to Njeru to deliver a roll of PUL to Margaret Hasasha who we have worked with the past few years. Margaret has been serving her community in different disciplines including women’s health. She has trained women to make period packs and Margaret carries out reproductive health clinics in the villages and some of the islands of Lake Victoria. These 50 yards of PUL (that ISEE ordered and shipped from the US) will help the work that Margaret does and hopefully help girls and women stay clean during their cycles. Her period packs are offered free of charge to both school-going girls and women around the Eastern part of Uganda. The women she trains to make the packs help provide the kits for distribution but also learn a skill and can make them to sell in their communities.
Thank you for your continued interest in our work. I wish you a pleasant week.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society