Greetings to you all,
I hope this edition finds you well. Over the last few weeks, we have been seeing and hearing reports on how bad the weather has been as much of North America is frozen and cars can’t even drive on those beautifully paved roads. Here it has been a different story as the sun has scorched everything, including the streets, so it is dusty everywhere. Most of the plantation fields are extremely dry and perhaps it is a good time to harvest maize and beans so we can experience a small drop in the prices because the whole of November and December last year everything was highly priced and it affected everything we did.
This week was a bit slow and we had a National Holiday called Liberation Day which was on Wednesday last week. This somewhat affected my work but I was able to accomplish some of the tasks as scheduled from last week;
I will start with the Justine assignment where we needed to build her a small shelter around her vegetable stall to help prevent rain and sunshine from bothering her. Last year during the rainy season, she would carry her vegetables back and forth between her house and stall when it rained and stopped. My initial worry was her safety because she lives in the middle of a swampy area, and carrying this box of vegetables back and forth presented a high risk of falling given that she was still undergoing treatment for her neurologically bad foot. We bought 5 poles, 6 roofing poles and 30 planks to help complete the shelter. It turned out that it was not enough planks so I went back and bought her another extra 10 planks to complete the shelter. She is very cooperative so it is always easy working with her. I am happy to say that according to my conversation with her on the phone, the stall is complete. I will visit again this week to get the final picture of what the stall has become. Thank you for supporting Justine. She said “Mwebale nnyo nnyo” which translates to “Thank you very very much”.
We also made contact with Hamida, our poultry Mama who has been wanting to get this project up and running before December last year but things didn’t go as planned. This week, we organized and met at one of the biggest chick suppliers in Uganda called Ugachick. It is one of the oldest and most successful poultry farming organizations in Uganda. We booked 100 chicks and they will be delivered on the 26th of February. The date seems so far as you might notice but the truth is that these guys have an incredible demand so we have to always wait and that is also good for Hamida because she can do her final preparations and clean everything she needs.
I also visited Sarah who has goats and pigs now, she is doing well though her goat house has started falling apart starting with the steps climbing up to the goat house. She recently delivered another baby goat on her goat farm. This is very good that we have started seeing some kind of growth. Sarah has lost several goats over the last few years to disease and theft but not at the end of last year. People around her community lost a lot of animals during the Christmas season but she only lost a few bunches of matooke (starchy green bananas like plantains) which are usually prepared by either frying or steaming in banana leaves.
Thieves came at night and cut all banana plants with a bunch on top of them and when they realized it was not mature they would just leave it on the ground which was a total waste of food given the price of these bananas. The other positive thing is that her piggery is doing well, she started with three pigs and has recently acquired two more. She has plenty of vegetation in her garden so this is helping with the feeding of these animals.
Rovence N is doing well with her restaurant. She recently got another contract for a year to supply a local organization called Hands of Hope, to supply their children with food every Saturday until November 2023. This is a good boost to her business and luckily she still has the warmers and utensils that she acquired about 2 years ago e.g warmers, plates, cups, etc. Her only challenge is she needs to buy more dry foods which will help her manage the supply more effectively. She would like to continue the business on Saturdays because she has local customers who depend on her, therefore she employs three more women from the community to cook for her.
Amina is also fairing well. She has continued to look for more shops she can supply with chapati to improve or increase her supply chain or market. She makes her chapatis and distributes them to these shops who help to sell them throughout the day and she collects the money every afternoon to prepare for the next morning.
This week her daughter who is a candidate was able to get her registration fees and scholastic materials for the term. The registration fees will ensure that she is registered for this year’s final exams. Amina was so excited and pleased that this fee was made available because most schools won’t allow a student to continue without paying this fee. It is more important than tuition fees for the term.
Francoise is also doing well. She looks more healthy and determined to push on with life. She has continued to cook her beans and maize mix which she sells at the railway track. She has involved her children who now help her to carry the heavy items back and forth every morning and afternoon when she is ready to go back and start a new batch. The sales have not yet improved much and it is usually that around this time people are focusing on school fees and children going back to school. Therefore she is cooking small portions every day. Jordan her grandson has been admitted to a new school because the last one was a bit far away from her home. He had to cross about three major roads before reaching school. Francoise has worried that this is not safe for him because school-going hours are prime hours for people rushing to go to work. He will be registered fully this week and he will be ready to join the school next week.
The other Mamas I spoke to include Irene l the salonist who last week had a baby. She delivered well and is back home but I was not in the position to go see her but they are both well. The salon remains closed in the meantime as she recovers and reorganizes herself. I wasn’t able to see Florence again this week but we spoke on phone and she is doing well, just a bit heavy at the moment as she expects her baby anytime this month. Immaculate was in the field so I was not able to see her. Her clinic or drug shop is doing okay at the moment. Business is a bit slow she said but everything is going on well.
I would like to thank you all for being a part of what we do and supporting our Mamas who have become our sisters and friends. What concerns them concerns us. Thank you for following us endlessly week in and week out.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society