Greetings to you all,
We hope that everything is going well for all of you in May. Things here remain the same on almost all levels i.e economic, political and social levels. The only thing going for us right now is the beautiful rains or storms as people outside Africa like to call them. We have been blessed with such an immense amount of rain over the last few days and weeks now. This has greatly boosted our agricultural sector and farmers down here after that very long spell of a drought recently. Our only challenge continues to be the ever-increasing prices of commodities, especially foodstuff and transport. The prices of fuel have risen from 4,300/- to now 5,440/- for petrol and it’s worse for diesel fuel, 3,800/- to 5,470/- per litre.
This week our work continued and I must say that some of my visits went well with our Mamas:
Starting with Margaret N. She is doing well at the moment. She has had her grandkids for holidays and they are giving her trouble. She has been pushed to work in her bedroom and I talked to her through her window. They tend to crawl under the machine and pull the threads out of the sewing machine. This has of course forced her to devise other means and now she is working in her bedroom at the moment. She is working on a batch of clothes belonging to a choir at her local church. They buy plain white shirts and she patches them up with African fabric on the pockets, sleeves and collars.
Betty N. is not doing very well at the moment. She usually trains students but they have not enrolled recently so she has been working with one of her long-time trainees, who assists Betty on the wedding projects she has been doing recently.
Lilly A. is also a tailor but for her things have been improving especially now that children are heading to school. She has been sewing some uniforms for some students but also helping label them with the names of the students. This is a common practice for boarding students majorly as I had mine embroidered with my names while I was in primary school to avoid theft of uniforms.
Jane N. of the water tank has not been having as much fun this season because of the many showers of rain we have been having these last two weeks. Looks like people have grown into the habit of water harvesting lately. I guess why not because with these constantly rising prices people have to save more money on some of these items. On the other hand, her chickens continue to do well and she has lost only 6 of the 100 chicks they bought. These birds tend to eat a lot but I am glad she has been able to handle the feeding. The only problem they have had recently with their pigs is they have officially run out of space because it was so small. The pigs have not turned out to become big and multiply too. They have decided to sell all of them and will later rebuild a chicken coop. They will have to wait for a few weeks or months for the space to dry and disinfect as it may affect the chicks.
Immaculate M. has been doing well with her clinic but the shop continues to run out of medicines. During our meeting and conversation, I noticed the cabinets are running dry. She is trying to get all her kids back into school and this is affecting her business a little bit. She has two children in tertiary institutions which are usually expensive. This will affect her for about a month but after they are gone, she tends to pick up.
Irene L. is continuing to pick up and I was fortunate to find her working on a client. Although she was the first of the day, Irene had already seen several customers in the past few days. We hope that this trend continues for Irene and that she will completely recover in her business so she can sustain her home and family. The children are returning to school and she has done a great deal in saving up for some of the scholastic materials they require.
Harriet L. has also been doing okay regardless of the threat to evict her from the railway reserve land. Her tailoring shop is located in the reserve and the authority is looking into revamping the system. This continues to present a high risk to Harriet’s business and eventually, it shall have to close. Otherwise, she is well and she is also training her kids to tailor especially the girls and they all now know what to do in terms of repairing their clothes.
I dropped by quickly to see Francoise and Jordan her grandson who had fallen sick of typhoid. He was admitted for about 3 days and he got 9 IV drips to add fluids to his body. Francoise attended to him while her daughter Jolly operated the roadside food stall. I am glad that they have been able to support one another during these last two weeks. Francoise has been sick with Malaria but was able to recover too. I was also able to meet Nicole, her niece, who we helped support in early Nursery school and she is now a big girl, 11yrs old.
I went to see Pulakiseeda and picked up my grocery supplies for the month and she is doing okay. Of course, the increased prices have affected the incomes for her too but she is holding up well.
Angel N. is one of the hardest Mamas to find but she is doing okay. Her business is running smoothly according to her but like all Mamas in this line of the vegetable stall, food and groceries price rises have affected them regardless of the improved weather conditions. Angel’s stall is not as stocked as usual as the prices of almost everything have doubled and the items like tomatoes and onions are reducing in quantity. It was nice to see her in person and see what she has been up to.
I spoke with Jane N. who owns water tank 2 and there has been little progress on their moving. She has been up and about trying to get the plot they got ready for construction but now she has to be delayed because it is time for school and people are focussing on that.
Finally, I spoke to Peter Kiwanuka of React Now and Save Young Mothers. They are doing well and construction continues. They have currently run out of money and they have stopped at the concrete foundation. They have about 20 bags of cement to go to finish this segment. They will therefore continue fundraising before they can go to the next stage of raising the walls of the classrooms.
Thank you for your continued support and weekly follow-up with us. We appreciate you. I will send a special thank you to all those who went for the sanitary kit arrangement over the weekend. Your contribution is highly appreciated. The pads will make their way to Uganda in a few weeks and I will be ready to receive them for storage until our next Reproductive Health and Sanitary distribution clinics in the foreseeable future.
Director of Programs, Uganda.
ISEE Solutions Society.