Greetings to you all,
I hope that you are all well.
It was a good week for Uganda as one of the kid’s dance groups was represented at Britain’s Got Talent with a Golden Buzzer in the middle of their performance. It is good to see what these guys are doing in the same effort to try and create opportunities for young people here. They come from an orphanage of about 30 kids where they provide food, medical and accommodation for these young ones. Good to see other people engaging on a different level, let us try to find something that we all can engage in to make this world a better place.
Back on our front this week, I was able to engage with Francoise, Florence, Harriet, Hamida, Christine, Sarah, Rehema, Semmy, Maria, Christine, and Margaret.
Last week Francoise was gifted a saucepan to help her continue with her business so she will be able to cook food and support her entire family. This week however she was faced with a blow when her son was admitted to a mental hospital. He had a breakdown and he started throwing stones and destroying some of his property. He threw his radio on the ground and stepped on it several times, breaking it into pieces. When Francoise attempted to pick it up, he threw a rock that missed her head by only inches. He was later apprehended and taken to the mental hospital where he will be kept for some time. The doctors said that this might be an inherent issue so they will keep them for some time.
Christine is back in business trying to raise her second batch of chicks and all was going well until she realized, the chickens are not growing well. They are supposed to be sold after 5 weeks but at 4 weeks, they are not big enough. One of the problems I realized was that the coop had a wet floor so I encouraged her to change the floor and by so doing, we have agreed to support her to further improve the coop for not only a good outcome but also ensure that these birds are raised well. She will buy supplements and vitamins since she had enough food in storage for the birds. These birds have to be sold in two weeks max or else she will start making losses because these birds feed a lot because they grow too fast.
Maria is doing well with her pigs. Of course, there is a small challenge with feeding them at the moment but nothing she can’t handle so everything is under control. The pigs look healthy as always and this is a good thing.
Hamida has finally sold out all her chickens and she got a somewhat good return. She was able to use her returns to book 150 chicks from 100 chicks that she had from last time. This is a good sign of what she is doing. After all, I have wanted to break their rest pattern and rather create consistency because by this I think we shall create the sustainability that we want them to have. She was also able to use some of her profits to pay school fees for one of her daughters and is looking forward to another blissful experience. There will be somewhat of a good delay rather than a harmful delay in the delivery of the next batch, she received a call to notify her that she will get her chicks a week later than she was expecting citing that there was an expected fall in the hatchery. This is good because it will help her prepare the coop well and also rest the coop too. Some practitioners say it is good to delay a coop a week or two to ensure somewhat of a cleansing to the coop from the old chicks and prepare the ground for the new.
Sarah of the goat business is doing okay. I found out that she had been beaten down by malaria the last few days before my visit and at the point of my visit, and she was under medication. Otherwise, she is doing well in her recovery, the two girls and boy are in school too, and the goats are looking good plus the pigs are now down by one because she had to sell one to top up on the school fees issue this term. The girls had a balance and the school needed full payment before they sat their exams. Therefore, one pig had to go to meet this need. This is one of the reasons why the pigs are there to mitigate such needs as they arise.
Hadija is doing well. She has not come back to work yet because baby Ivy is less than a month old. She had wanted to delay returning for three weeks but has upgraded that to one month so that Ivy develops well before she is exposed to the public. Hadija is passionate about her work and you can tell by the way she speaks about it but of course she is also passionate about her daughter’s safety so she must balance the obligations carefully. The business is a bit slow at the moment and of course she wants it to change soon.
Last week, I was looking for Florence and found on two occasions her salon closed so I extended my visit to her home to see her. She is doing well. She has been nursing her son Zion who is now three weeks old but most recently he underwent circumcision so he has been undergoing the healing process. He looks good and healthy so Florence says she will be back at the salon during the next week after the review has been made by the doctor.
Margaret is back in the city from her village where she had gone to visit her property and also receive some treatment. She has been now fully discharged from the hospital visits after they evaluated her cataract situation and deemed it to have healed completely. She has now been given prescription glasses that she has to buy to ensure she protects both the eye that went under surgery and the normal eye. She will rest a bit until she gets the glasses as she assesses whether to continue with tailoring or try something else.
Henry, who has been taking care of pigs for his wife (Prossy) has done a good job with this round of piglets. Last year, it was quite a disaster as they did not make any profits on this venture. This time around, it looks like he has learned from the last experience and it is incredible how good the pigs look at the moment. In four months, they are already the size of the one last year.
He has also erected a wooden coop to start out a poultry farm of local chickens only. He said he wanted to do this for himself and we are all excited to see him start out something good as a man to put something on the table at the end of the day, something he called, “…his own”. We shall work alongside him to see how he can access his local birds for his farm.
Lastly, I visited Rehema who I have been working over the last year on what exactly she can do to change her fortunes. We have explored various options up to this point where she wants to work with her daughter in a salon setting because before she started cooking many years ago, she studied hairdressing. After having cooked for years, she was evicted from her cooking spot, the business died and has never recovered. She has tried to cook again but all in vain, she has tried to wash or do laundry and that has affected her somewhat. Recently her daughter Ritah was deported back to Uganda from the Arab world with nothing so they are trying to start life all over again. She has some skills in hairdressing and Rehema thought they could do something together. Rehema is taking care of 4 of her grandchildren and 4 other younger children who stay with her. All but two of these children go to school. This presents a significant financial challenge to livelihood and I hope that we can find something for this family too.
Thank you again for supporting Francoise with her new saucepan this week, Anna with her confectionery practice and many others over the last couple of months. Without your support and encouragement none of this would be possible so thank you for running with us on this journey to lend a hand to one another. In the words of the Mamas, “Mwebale nnyo”.
Director of Programs, Uganda.
ISEE Solutions Society