Greetings to you all,
I hope that you are well.
The month of September has continued to be cold as the rains have generously fallen in the past few days. This is a good thing for our local farmers because the majority of them still are limited to traditional methods of farming rather than scientific methods of farming. These rains are a good thing because they guarantee food safety for our population and this has been evident with the number of vegetables on the market. The prices of maize and posho have been increasing over the last couple of months, making feeding a challenge for the general population.
The following are some of the follow-ups that I made during the week;
Angel N is one of the vegetable-selling mamas and when I visited her last week, her stall looked very busy with lots of vegetables like cabbages, eggplants, onions, and many others. When I asked her, she said the prices of these items have reduced a bit and she is receiving more customers. This is a good thing because I too bought a few vegetables at the market and I spent much less than I did in the previous month.
Maria A is doing quite well. She has two pigs that are already pregnant and expecting to produce piglets in the next couple of months. Her pig pen is already full but her pigs are still a bit young to be sold for food at the moment so she can’t sell them off. She now wants to expand the pen to accommodate the new piglets. When you look at her pen, all the pigs have enough room to grow and they have grown big. I think it will be good to expand so the pig farm can grow. Maria used to sell snacks at a local school but can’t do it anymore so she depends on this business. This fuels the desire to expand and increase her income to support her family. She is the breadwinner of her family because her husband got a back injury that forced him to stop work. We are hoping to be able to help Maria expand her pigpen as she has had great success with this venture.
Annet N is doing well. This tea and porridge business during these cold weeks has boomed due to the increase in demand. The past months prior were very difficult when it was hot to a point that she almost wanted to quit. She has now increased the pots she cooks her tea and porridge respectively. She also wants to add to her business by learning another trade to support her business on the side. She is investing in learning how to make paper bags and books to sell. This is a business that can complement her tea business because she closes shop at bit 1 pm therefore she has time to go back home and make these products. This is another business we are looking into supporting so that she can finish her training and get the necessary supplies to start making and selling the books herself.
Christine N has continued to have a hard time with her chickens. Recently, I wrote about her receiving her batch of almost 500 chicks from the local hatchery. She kept them for a few weeks and it was time to vaccinate them so she went and bought the vaccines. Along with her daughter, they vaccinated the chicks, and the following morning more than 50 chicks had died. The next week, a stray cat came and ate a bunch of chicks for three days straight so she decided to sell off the remaining ones. Regardless, she has not given up on this business as she plans to get a new batch targeting the festive season. She has also discovered the hole that the cat uses to enter the chicken coop and she has blocked it. Her pigs, however, are doing well. The little 5 piglets have grown and the two have again gotten pregnant. This is good for this part of her business.
Dorah A is doing well. I found her roasting ground nuts for her children going to boarding school. In Uganda, parents usually buy maize, ground nuts, sesame, and baking flour and they make us what we used to call “grab” to take to school as snacks. They made us these snacks that would last at least one month because schools only allow 1-2 visitation days per term. I found Dorah making some for her daughter. She is looking for a person who sells rabbits so we can arrange for her to have another pair to restock her business. She found a gentleman but he is out of town so she has to wait until he returns.
After receiving a call from Hamida last week, I went to visit her chicken house but it was not yet completed due to the heavy rains that disrupted the completion of the building. They had roofed most of it but hadn’t completed it plus the flooring and plastering had not been done yet. Otherwise, for the first time in a long time, there has been such enormous progress on this project maybe we shall have it done before this month ends so Hamida can get back in the chicken business.
Immaculate M and her clinic are continuing to do good. The balancing of her two jobs is not perfect as the hospital has her working more because many of her counterparts have been laid off. She then leaves the hospital late and jumps right into her clinic until about 10-11 pm depending on how busy the night is. Otherwise, she is doing well and two other children are already back in school so she is left with two whose financial needs for school are even higher.
Lorna K is also doing well with her restaurant business. Just like Annet, Lorna too has had some increase in her daily sales because of the weather. People are appreciating tea and porridge more at the moment.
I found Justine cutting passion fruits and oranges to prepare juice. She usually squeezes about 5-10 litres a day for her customers. She uses water from the purifier to mix or dilute the juice. I am happy about this because Justine is utilizing her water purifaaya very well. We have one problem in communities like hers, as people have a great demand for chilled drinks but most shop owners have a tendency not to boil water hence contamination and many people end up with typhoid. I am really happy that this fridge and beverage thing is working out for Justine.
Lastly, I made my usual courtesy calls to Anna and Hadija who have leg injuries and they are doing okay. Hadija had a small set back but she got the medication she needed to get back on track. Hadijah’s business greatly depends on her so she tries to go to work every once in a while to help her girls run the business.
I also spoke to Peter Kiwanuka of React Now and Save a Young Mother. He said they are still at a standstill. No work is being done since the last time I visited as they have not been able to collect enough money since then to start the next phase of construction.
My efforts to find Jane N our other water tank Mama who is facing eviction from her previous property were in vain. I have managed only to speak to her on phone and she is gardening because it is the season and it is one of her hustles like we call it sometimes.
Thank you for your continued interest and support in our programs, always following and reading our weekly blogs. It is always a pleasure to continue to support these Mamas. They are always grateful that you care about them even during these tough times. The Mamas refer to you as “Baganda bafe” which means our brothers and sisters, asking about all of you and never forgetting to say thank you and praying for you too. They have a huge appreciation for your sacrifices and efforts.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society