Greetings to you,
I hope you are well.
It is the time of the year when I play Santa again, and this time for the third year in a row. I must say it has brought me great pleasure to start this month with the planning and budgeting of the annual Christmas Hampers.
The weather has not been too bad but the market has changed and some prices have increased. We managed to work around the budget and all Mamas will indeed have a good festive season.
I started my shopping by buying sodas because it is easy to find but the challenge is that the Coke suppliers became a problem as they wouldn’t let me buy what I wanted. Instead, they wanted me to buy what they wanted so I decided to forfeit their products. Moving forward our Mamas will enjoy Pepsi products.
I then went to Pulakiseda to get her to package me portions of posho, rice, beans, sugar and salt. We decided that instead of taking this money somewhere else, it was good for us to support our very own people. She packed over 140 bags of the items mentioned above and this time I asked that she double packs the items so I could avoid some of the mess I had last year. All the bags looked very good and were easy to carry during the transport process.
The process usually starts with me going to shops and ordering what I need then I drive these things back home to my extra room where it is stacked and before I create the hampers. After everything is bought, I make my way to the plastics factory where I purchase a certain number of buckets in which everything will be assembled. We usually use transparent buckets which are usually appealing to the eye and the Mamas love them because they reuse them for various things.
Fresh items like bread I usually buy in the morning of delivery as I like my bread fresh so I assume the Mamas love it too. I decided to bag the soap in extra polythene bags to avoid the perfumed bar soap from entering the rest of the food. Throughout the year, I tend to collect all polythene bags handed to me at supermarkets and shops to reuse and recycle probably. I hadn’t planned that I would use it at such a time but look, it came in handy.
The buckets are then assembled in dozens and each bucket that represents a Mama is then filled with one of each item purchased. Therefore, one bucket will have rice, sugar, cooking oil, baking flour, posho, salt, soap and a loaf of bread. The buckets will weigh up to about 10-12kgs. Alongside one bucket will be two cartons of soda which we assume will be shared through the two meals of lunch and supper. Usually, the supper will be much heavier and usually will be served at about 2-3 pm as most of the morning is filled with cooking, chores, and church.
On Monday the first batch of hampers will be prepared for delivery to the Mamas closer to my home area and then I will roll out the rest by distance and population. On the final day, I usually deliver to 2-3 buckets of Mamas who live furthest from my home.
Last week, one of our partners, Godfrey, a deputy head teacher to one of the schools we work with, graduated from university. Due to our ongoing history with him, we like to offer him a hamper so I delivered the first hamper to him because I knew he was throwing a celebration party and would appreciate some of these items for the party. He and his family were so excited to receive the package.
I can’t wait to start the official delivery for the rest of the items. Certainly it means long hours on the road for me but I always get back home with a smile on my face.
I want to thank all of you who make this thing happen even for the last two years. It came as a surprise during the first two years but it has also become something that has excitement written all over it. I usually don’t tell them what is coming and that always catches them by surprise. It is always a pleasure writing to you and I can’t wait to send you pictures of the beautiful faces next week.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society