Happy New Year to you all,
I hope that we are all well. It has been quite a while since we connected but I am here now and hope we continue in the same spirit as last year.
I mentioned in my previous letter to you that I took two weeks time off from work and travelled to visit a friend in Rwanda. For the first time in my life, I celebrated Christmas and New Years on foreign grounds. It was a different feeling but it was good to be away. I look forward to maybe doing the same again sometime.
Rwanda was quite a clean and beautiful place, and certainly you should consider a visit there sometime in your lives. I got to visit a few sites including the first modern building in Kigali, the museum, and the convention centre. I also took very long walks in the suburbs of Kigali.
I am back to business as usual, all the Mamas are doing well, at least the ones that I have checked in with. They were so grateful for the hampers and they sent you all many thanks.
My visits started with Betty N, and she is doing well. Her family/kids are doing okay. She has undertaken homeschooling for the first two and the last one she decided to send her to kindergarten school. She is back in her shop tailoring. The year ended well for her in terms of business but not very good family-wise. She is now training two more girls in her shop so that is good for her.
Jane N, water tank one is also doing well. The sun has been shining most of the start of the year so business has been really good for her. We have not had much rain in the last three or so weeks so. Francis her grandson is also doing well, he has been receiving his physiotherapy sessions and lucky enough, someone is bringing a clinic just a few meters from their house. This will surely ease things for him and also he will only need to sit in his wheelchair and he will be at the hospital. Otherwise, everyone else is still home because school is still on break.
Margaret N is doing well. Her leg has greatly improved but her right eye is suffering from a cataract. She went and saw a doctor who told her so but her family wants a second opinion so they asked her to go see another doctor. She is doing a lot more tailoring lately and this is good perhaps helping with the healing process.
Amina A is not doing badly at all. She is one of the people that I was worried about and now that her daughter is in a candidate class, it worries me more. I guess I will have to find a way of boosting her income because there is a lot of payment to do including registration and examination fees. She has come too far not to finish secondary school. Otherwise, she is continuing to make her chapatis.
Angel N is back to business. During the close of the year, she closed her business because she had to go to the village to perform some rituals for their departed people. It was a requirement that she attended so she went for a few days. She has since returned and is back to her grocery stall doing business as usual. I took the opportunity to buy some potatoes from her stall which I had planned to cook for dinner. Otherwise, the business is doing okay, although the kids are still home so I asked if she is saving for the fees when the time comes.
Pulakiseda N has flourished this festive season, she saved up enough to repay her fridge loan. The shop is doing well and I also bought my supplies from her shop as usual like rice, sugar, cooking oil, etc.
It was unfortunate for me that I did not find Dorah at home but I was lucky enough to find her son’s home so they showed me the rabbits. It seems they were a lot younger than we were told because none of them has given birth yet. They have made adjustments to the chicken house and turned it into a rabbit house. This has given them more space and helped with easy cleaning. Kudos to them. The rabbits look much bigger so it is a good thing, looks like they will give birth to many bunnies.
Justine N is finally completing her toilet. Her old one fell due to heavy downpours last year in November so she embarked on starting the project and when I visited her, she was quick to jump and tell “Come, I show you what I have done”. Though it was not finished, I am happy that she was excited about what she had done. Kudos to her too. Otherwise, the business is doing okay, although with no grasshopper sales because they are out of season.
I spoke to Florence on the phone as she was not at the salon when I went down to her salon. She had an appointment at the hospital as she is due in about a month or so. The salon is doing okay and she has employed someone to help because of her situation. I also spoke to Asia because she had gone to visit her sick mother so I was unable to see her too. Lastly, Hadija was unwell with fatigue and malaria so she was not at the roadside.
It is good to be back and I look forward to a wonderful year of good health and lots of progress with the Mamas. Thank you for joining us again on another journey this year. Looking forward to more of your support as we try to end period poverty and keep children in school.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society