Greetings to you all,
I hope that you are well. This past month I turned 34 years of age, which surely marks 10 years since we started this journey in 2013-2014. It has been quite a journey of growth both physically and psychologically. I remember I had just joined university and my sponsor had disappeared and I had no hope for continuation. Fast forward to many years later, I am a fully grown man who loves what I do because it has given me meaning. I have learned to love, support and respect women.
If there is one regret that I have, it’s that my father has not witnessed any of the things I have done and achieved in this little life of mine. Otherwise, I want to thank you all for the incredible support that you have given me. I can never be more proud to have played this game of life along with you all.
Sadly, I caught an infection that has had me bedridden for almost a week now. I thought it was malaria but it wasn’t. I went to two different hospitals to ascertain the truth because the first one said I had no malaria but rather an infection. The signs surely suggested malaria for sure, these included high fever, cold, cough, headaches, body pains, and bitter mouth and I mean all symptoms were consistent with malaria. I was not satisfied anyways. I was prescribed antibiotics on both occasions and the only difference was that the latter offered me dewormers and muscle relaxers plus I was advised to donate blood because I have way too much of it.
Otherwise, I could only see a few mamas because of this condition and the following is what I could do just before my issue.
We were able to get Betty set up with her embroidery machine. It is quite a unique machine because it writes script and also draws shapes and uploaded patterns. She has wanted this machine and was working on a savings plan to help her get it sometime. With your generous donations she was able to find a brand new machine and some fabric to kick-start her experience. Hopefully, she will be able to make enough money to support herself and her young family with three kids.
Betty is happy with her machine and doing well for sure. She told me that she has to practice at least once a day to get more and more familiar with the machine. She has started making rounds in the nearby school advertising her new service and has put a small notice by her door telling people about this new machine. She can label school uniforms by writing the names of students on the shirts, shorts and skirts. She can also draw school logos on the uniforms too. She can draw unique shapes and designs on any clothing.
We were also able to set up Irene with her boiled cow feet business and silverfish. Still waiting for the silverfish because they had to order it from one of the landing sites here. It is on its way to her shop as it has been already paid for and awaiting delivery. She has managed to cook for times from when she first started. The cooking is going well even though the sales are still not as good as she would have wanted. She is selling one cooking share for two days so it’s not yet up to speed but she is working hard. We were able to buy plates, bowls and silverware which is now used for the business. She cooks outside her salon and for the most of it, she is happy and that’s good.
Harriet is doing okay, although business is slow and she is worried about one of her daughters who might not attend extra holiday classes. The school has decided to organize classes for all the upper classes in the primary section but parents have to pay for it all. They are supposed to pay for facilitation and also buy their children necessities including things like food and sugar. School dues are already high and holiday classes don’t give parents enough time to gather money for the next semester. There is nothing she can do at the moment because her husband also says he has no money for the extra classes. Harriet says the downside of all this is that the school will debt it upon them even if their children don’t join the rest for holiday classes. I think it’s ridiculous that some private schools are doing this to parents who struggle to put their kids to school.
Having not seen Lorna on two occasions, I was able to see her at her business location. Business is going very well but the problem is she is receiving some hate from some of the people around her stall. They have seen her grow every day even after they stole some of her property during the fire. She has been hard working and her restaurant has become busier over the last few weeks. Catherine her daughter is also back frying her samosas and her son has been able to attend school.
Finally, Francoise’s girls Jolly and Angel faced a few challenges of their own. They had a communication breakdown that needed to be sorted out by a well-wisher and a third party. I spoke to them and I was able to get them to get over it all and focus on working on their salon and sticking together.
I received two bad calls from Justine whose roof was destroyed by the rain and Hamida whose chicken coop was destroyed by the same downpour which led to the demise of all her poultry. Justine called me the next morning seeking some assistance to help them buy new iron sheets so their house could become habitable again. She has since bought the sheets to replace the lost ones and I will probably visit next week. Hamida has reinforced the door by building a few more bricks and closing the entrance to avoid leakage.
This week, after my recovery, I went to see Justine to see how bad things had been and yeah the entire roof had gone but the replacement process had started. They had replaced most of the roof and increased its height because they wanted to increase the height of the floor to ensure that flooding is avoided. The rain destroyed almost all her property including bedding and furniture too. She had to vacate the house and have it worked on. Her son helped a lot with the financial contribution to help rebuild but it was not adequate and hence the reach out for support. At this point, the roof has been raised and completed so the remaining task is to clear the debris in the house so they can start to move everything back into the house. She was fortunate that the wooden stall was not damaged because it was a bit lower than the actual house roof.
I also visited Hamida whose coop drowned and lost over 100 birds and remained with only two by the time of my visit. These rains sometimes will fall for longer hours and due to poor drainage, most people living around these areas will experience flooding. Unable to save most of her chicks during the heavy downpour, she only saved three chicks. One of them also died the next day and she now has two. Unwilling to give up, she has ordered and booked another one hundred birds after ensuring that the project continues for her. She will be receiving the birds this coming week on Thursday. I am happy that she is making the initiative all by herself. This is our hope that the Mamas can remain motivated to achieve their dreams and we are happy to be a part of that journey with them. She has also built a small wall to block the area which let in water to ensure she prevents the flooding from happening again.
Times have been tough for Angel as her business has significantly reduced in terms of stock as seen in her stall behind. She had been saving up to buy a fridge because drinks have been in demand in her area for a while. She said customers have been asking for beverages at her stall because all the grocery shops seem a bit far away. She has kept it at her home because the stall is not secure enough so she brings the drinks in a bucket. She wants to build it again from that angle and I think it is incredible that she would think of doing something so risky but yet progressive like that. I encouraged her to still revive her vegetable stock because she needs to balance the market and demand.
It was a good sight this week when I saw all the 12 bunnies that belonged to Dorah fully grown. About 2 months ago she lost over 21 bunnies due to a vaccination problem when the mother rabbit was vaccinated while still nursing its bunnies. Sadly, as a result, all of them were lost. This time round things were different, all the 12 bunnies looked so majestic and healthy when I went to visit her. She released them in her backyard and it was a joy to watch and guess what, in about a month she will be receiving new bunnies from all the three female rabbits on her farm. Good to see another project going off, being patient through the tough times and waiting it out patiently. Soon, she will be selling lots of rabbits and her family will be better. She is going to have to prepare more room for more bunnies soon.
Maria is doing okay. Her pigs are growing fast but there is this one specific one which has refused to develop. It eats a lot and it looks very fat but does not seem to grow in size. All other piglets have picked up but this one is special. Maria has decided she will have to nurture him and feed him more vitamins to see if he improves. Otherwise, everything seems okay and all her grandkids have returned for the holidays and the home was busy.
Christine is not doing bad but only her chickens have refused to reach the weight she wants to sell them at. They have been in the coop for 2 months now but they are still a bit off weight so she doesn’t want to lose money by selling them underweight. She wants to feed them for two more weeks and attract a better price. This batch was a bit problematic this time around. The piglets are also not doing very well and she says, she doesn’t have enough capital to invest at the moment. She has now decided to go back to her teaching practice to earn something monthly so she can boost the farm with some extra capital. The challenge is that she has not yet received any offers but has already dropped 14 applications at the different Primary schools around Kampala.
Amina is doing okay. She is still hanging there with her little chapati business. It has been slow a bit after the fasting season but she says it is okay. She has not yet found another option to invest and improve the business. I met her with her daughter who is finally on her school holiday and I made an appointment to finish an interview I had with her. I have been trying to get her but because she has been busy in school usually going early and coming back late in the evening so I was unable to catch her. She is in a candidate class so weekends are tight too.
Finally, I visited Hadija who has a roadside chicken and chips stall but she was not there. I found her younger sister and she informed me that Hadija was in hospital with her baby. The baby girl was diagnosed with a heart condition. Sadly, the baby’s condition worsened and she couldn’t take it more. While I spoke to her, she was sad but happy for the two months they shared with her. I was unable to be with them but I spoke to both of them as they travelled to her husband’s village in Western Uganda called Mitooma. She thanked us all for walking with her during this tough time and she appreciates all the support you have given her and her family.
Thank you all once again. Thank you for being with us and supporting us every single step of the way. You have given us hope and a future.
“Mwebale nnyo” Thank you so much
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society