Greetings to you friends,
I hope that you are well.
On this other side of the world, the rains are going crazy. They are outdoing themselves. It has been raining every day or every other day, when it rains, it actually rains. All dirt roads have become almost impassable and one of the taxis I was in last time almost made a U-turn because the tyres could not get grip. The only thing I have loved through this season is that everything has seemingly blossomed and is green.
This week I went to see Jane (Water Tank One) who is a seller of clean water in the areas of Kawempe division. The rainy season is one of the hardest seasons for her because people usually tend to harvest water during these times. She leaped onto the tank base and showed me the level of the water in the tank and it was so high that she could hardly touch it. So, she is busy with her paper bag-making business because she can’t survive on the 8-10 jerrycans she sells daily (1,000/-). Otherwise, she is doing okay and all the kids are in school except Francis and another who broke his leg about 2 months ago.
I also visited Jane (Water Tank Two) on the journey to relocate it to a more permanent home. After Jane’s home was removed by the developers, it has somewhat been hard to find a good home for this tank because Jane has not moved yet completely as part of her property has not yet been compensated. She fears that if she moves this remaining property will be destroyed and everything will be stolen so this move has been delayed. I had not seen the tank in a few months but this week, we were able to visit the site where she had it kept and it was safe. We have now embarked on the building of the tank base and it will be moved as soon as the base dries.
Rehema is doing okay at the moment. She has held up the business not so badly but only faced a challenge that her bigger display rack was stolen just outside the door. She had removed the hair pieces and entered the house to have a little nap as she had just returned from a laundry service. She was lucky that she had removed the hair so the wooden rack was the only one taken. She decided to make a smaller one because she had no money but also it was easier for her to carry, unlike the other big one where she needed the big boys to carry it into the house.
Florence the salonist is doing okay at the moment. She has continued to pick up as now most kids are in school and parents can afford to do their hair. Both her kids are in school and are doing okay, Angel who usually gets sick has been okay through this season so Florence is happy with the proceedings. She was working on two to three customers so the season is looking good for her.
Aidah too has been having a good time but yet challenging because the rain somewhat increases consumption but makes mobility and cooking a bit hard. She usually cooks from outside her wooden shack but when it rains she has to cook from inside. She also has to walk slowly and much carefully because the ground is quite slippery at this time. Otherwise, business has not been bad in general and she is loving the benefits of the rain much more than the challenges.
We were able to get some hair supplies for Jolly to restart her salon after Angel her partner disappeared from the scene in Uganda. Angel decided to go pursue a life on another continent as of the information I got. She made her way to one of the Arab countries to go housekeep. She left after selling most of the products they had in the salon but she dropped off a few of the chemicals at Francoise’s.
Francoise has continued to cook more recently. She found someone who sells maize a bit cheaper than what is on the market so she was lucky that she even bought more than she usually buys.
Rovence has also been cooking a lot recently even though the food is a bit expensive. She is also facing a lot of competition from new food stalls popping up around her but I encouraged her that it’s just for the season. These newbies are charging much less than she charges and this can be a huge challenge for restaurant businesses. They are charging less because they don’t pay rent and power so I told her that it’s okay because when it rains, the customers will need shelter while they eat and that’s a good competitive advantage. Plus the fact that she offers safe and clean drinking water for her customers, she will surely have them back in no time.
I made a trip to see Henry as we were promised that his chickens would be on site in the first week of October. We gave them two more weeks for the benefit of the doubt but when we got there, the chicks were not in the poultry farm and they were to come the next day. So, we booked for 5 chickens to try and increase his egg production. So, that is why it wasn’t very productive at all as Henry lives way out of town so it takes me hours to get there.
Margaret is doing okay. She is still struggling with her right eye since the cataract was removed. The sight has improved but the doctors said there is a build-up of fluids in her eye which has caused her pupil to move. It is not located in the centre of the eye but rather is moved just above. I had never seen this but she asked me to look at it and I was shocked to see it. Otherwise, she is okay, the foot is doing much better and she is sewing, surprisingly. She had a few shirts to finish before she had left for the village. The only challenge is that her eye gets teary when she is sewing because I guess she has to strain a little more.
Sadly, Hadija has been struggling with some health-related issues. She said that she felt like her chest was under a lot of pressure and she couldn’t breathe well. They went to the doctor and they discovered that she had a fluid buildup in her abdomen and chest. They gave her some medicines that have since helped reduce the pain but she will have to go back for a scan and review. She has not been working so one of the girls has been attending to the roadside stall.
Annet is loving life at the moment as the rains have meant that the porridge and tea are moving. She is even staying longer on the road especially those mornings when it rains. She often tries to get to the roadside on time and start before the rain intensifies. She is selling more tea than usual so I advised her to save more money in preparation for the bad seasons but also pay up the children’s school fees.
On another positive note, we were able to nail down a soap-making session for her this week. This is the gentleman who taught Semmy and I was glad to get the phone call later that day from Annet saying that the soap was looking good. She is now going to sell the 8 bars they made and will now continue on her own. She got a weighing scale for herself as it is very important because this soap-making game is a game of measurements. I am really happy this boost has finally kicked off and we can only wish her the very best.
Because I went down to see Annet, I had to visit Maria as well. She had had a few sick piglets and needed some help to get a veterinary doctor to get that situation under control. I found the piglets doing much better and they had started feeding again.
Lilly has been doing good with her tailoring right from the start of last month, she has been having orders of tablecloths one after the other. She has now completed the payment of her son Phillip’s school fees and I am really happy about that. She has also just ordered for another bag of silverfish and it will be delivered sometime this week.
Amina is also doing well for herself. I have been monitoring her progress very closely recently because she has been having a candidate who needed to finish her final year. She has been able to pay all the fees for the girl (Amar) but has a smaller balance for Yahaya the boy. This is good progress and she can’t wait for Amar to finish so her burden can be cut down by half.
Pulakiseda is also doing okay. The market has been a bit slow especially because when it rains, mobility becomes very hard as the floor is wet and muddy therefore hindering customers. Otherwise, she is doing okay and the stall is looking somewhat good. Still requires some more stock but all is well at the moment.
Finally, I was able to deliver the PUL at Yimba Uganda for Anna Marie and Emma who have continued with the reusable sanitary pads though in their absence. It was received by William who will store it in a good place until they resume work. I would like to thank you all who donate and support the activities of ISEE Solutions because surely you have made our work successful over the years. We appreciate you all in all capacities and we wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.
Director of Programs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society