ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

April 18 update

Maria

Good morning,

I hope you are all doing well as you read this blog. I don’t know about many of you but I consider myself fortunate to be here writing and talking to you. It is amazing how fragile life is and how many people take it for granted but I feel that most of us following this work have realized what we could do with the life we have. Being a part of something that transforms just even one life brings some kind of meaning or purpose in life, that is what most people look for in life. To bring meaning and to find a purpose, at least that is my philosophy. Thank you for always following what we do, for supporting the lives of both the old and little ones that we serve. My heart melts every single time I see the smiles on the faces of these wonderful ladies and their children, I admire their strength and courage to do what they have been doing. 

Over the past few days I have been struggling with some health issues as my immunity was low but I managed to see a doctor and I had a small infection in my system caused by the water I had been drinking. He gave me some antibacterial drugs I think and asked me to take bed rest for at least a day. I took a day off, cleared out all the drinking water in my storage pot and got fresher water to replace it. I am feeling way better after the rest only two days after, so thank you to the magic of medical magic.

This week like all you know, I continued to visit our Mamas and below are some of the wonderful works they are doing;

Dorah in her restaurant

I will start with the wonderful Dorah A. who has been doing really well over the last couple of months in her restaurant business. She at one point had an electric power issue that was later sorted out by her landlord and she is now making monthly payments for the power. The restaurant looks good, she has a new employee because her previous one got sick because she was not taking her medication and she relapsed. The new employee is also another young woman who is helping clean, cook and washing utensils. It is a good thing when I come across such stories where women are supporting women in our community. The only challenge that she has this coming month is the fact that a faction of her community, the Muslim, have started fasting this week. This has already caused a downshift in the number of clients at the restaurant. As you may know, our Muslim brothers and sisters started their month of fast a few days ago and we would like to wish them a wonderful month of Ramadan. 

Rovence

Rovence N. another restaurateur in our project group is suffering the same consequences of the Islamic fast this month of Ramadan. It seems that this has always been the trend and our Mamas like Rovence and Dorah will have to ride this month in this groove. Otherwise she  has been doing great, the business is doing well, the furniture we helped her get is still holding up and it is a good thing. She will be featuring in our monthly “My Story” segment where we get to meet some of our Mamas personal life stories. She is thrilled and excited to share with us, which is a good thing. Stay tuned.

Betty hard at work

Betty N. is continuing with her tailoring school but yet slowly this time as she is struggling to find new students in her new environment, we guess it will take some time before people can get used to it. Otherwise, she is doing well in other business sections as she continues to get individual clients who need clothes done. During my visit she was actually finishing a dress for a customer who had made the order a few days back. Her family is doing well and her kids are doing coaching to keep them sharp before pre-school reopens for them.

Florence

The amazing Florence A. is doing really well despite having electric power issues as she disconnected because there was an illegal connection on her supply so they got disconnected. This meant that the salon business got troubled for a few days since the disconnection. In the meantime, her side business has been doing well with the chips and deep fried snacks. She has set her mind to continue doing this chips thing longside the salon. This is going to help her balance her finances and incomes and may also help to stabilize her life.

Maria

On the other side of town was Maria A. our piggery farmer, she is doing well with her pigs at the moment. The chickens have been a disaster because they have been falling sick and she has lost almost half of the chickens she got. This is the same story with Christine’s chickens too as they have been undergoing extensive treatment the last few weeks. She has treated them but has not had any breakthroughs which has then resulted in very low egg production less than intended. 

The pigs have not been bad and for the first time I witnessed the sale of one of her pigs during my visit. The piglets have not attracted the market she had hoped for so she has been finding it hard to get some buyers. Unfortunately, she was not able to attract a price that she wanted because the buyer was claiming it was smaller than he expected. The challenge she had was that two of her children needed to go back to school so she had to make some kind of sale. Anyway she was happy to sell  because she got some income to get a break and figure out her next move. We have decided to help Maria get some feed and supplements for the pigs to help them get fatter so she can attract a higher price.

Cissy

Finally I dropped by to see Cissy N. to follow up on the business prospect she was working on and it turns out that there was no progress there at all. She cancelled it because the location was risky and the authority would keep bothering her because it was too close to the main road, so it was both unsafe but also unhygienic for her to cook at that location. She has resulted in working in the same shack with her daughter’s restaurant. This is where she intends to work for the next few weeks as she seeks for plan B, to create her own work space.

If there was anything in the world I would do to show you how grateful I am for all your support, in a heartbeat I would. All of you who are continuously mobilizing all the resources from you out there, ensuring all our group of Mamas are taken care of. On behalf of the Mamas, we appreciate you all. 

Thank you for the support and your continuous donations, they bring meaning to the lives of the people we serve plus ourselves too. Stay Safe, Maintain Social Distancing but Stay Sociable, the world needs us.

Jee Shukriya

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Echel

Director Progs, Ug

ISEE Solutions Society

April 12 update

Greetings to you all,

I hope you are well and the Easter season also went well. Just like the Easter season last year, this year Easter was also never the same like before the pandemic. Much as the churches here were allowed to gather, none was allowed to gather in full capacity. All worship places are only allowed just about ½ of the capacity. Church wasn’t the same because on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Uganda succumbed to what was confirmed as a heart attack. He was found on the floor of his house in the morning of Saturday. The country has been mourning him and the state gave him a 17 gun salute as a send off when his body arrived at the Kololo National Air Strip. This was the sad part of the Easter holidays. 

This week was short for obvious reasons that Monday was Easter Monday, I was able to visit a total of only four Mamas: Harriet L, Lilly A, Irene L and Sarah N.

Irene in her shop

I will start with the one that I was excited to see or made me excited during the visit. Irene had a beautiful smile on her face when she saw me, she was very thankful for what we have done for her. At the time of the visit she was seated in her salon with her daughter and youngest son who was eating his lunch. She said, “This is what I told you Andrew,” pointing to her son who was eating, “I can’t stay without work.” She was clearly happy that she can now afford a meal for her family. Secondly, she had finished connecting electricity as she had promised when we offered to pay for her connection fee. I was happy to see her happy and her salon set up.

Sarah

It was also nice to see Sarah N. of the goats. It had been a while because she lives a bit further than all the Mamas. I was glad to hear she is doing well, her foot has made progress and was healing. It has improved her mobility for now but her back still hurts,  so she still doesn’t dig as much. I found her peeling cassava with her little 3yr old granddaughter. Usually families that practice farming in Uganda will grow cassava and sweet potatoes, these are staple foods for most families majorly because it’s cheap and easy to grow. Cassava is peeled and sliced in thumb size strips and then boiled with salt and served with beans and other sauces. Other people will do the same but deep fry them and use the cassava as accompaniment for tea during breakfast.

Her goats are doing well and she has two of them pregnant, so we will wait to see what happens in a few months. The goats look healthy and she said she has the vet visit every month to provide them with care, which is a good thing. The goat house still looks fantastic and she has ensured the kids keep it clean, so I was glad to see that too. It was worth the long ride I must say.

Lilly tailoring

We have a local saying here in Uganda usually used to refer to lacking money or having nothing in the pocket, we say “…the sun is shining in your pockets.” Lilly A. has not had a good few 3 weeks, having only 2 orders for table cloths and pillow cases. Otherwise she has not had much success with the African backpacks she made early this year. We had been trying to help her pick it up so we provided her with a fabric fund but not much improvement yet. Lucky enough is that she presents with a hope that everything will better up soon. 

Harriet

Finally I went to see Harriet L. after she had called me to go look at the house she had found. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the house. It was located perfectly by the road but it was a bit small, the owner wanted rent worth five months and yet it looked like a dump, the floor was wet and the roof had a few holes. It is not the way we do things usually because we allow all the Mamas to make their own decisions about the businesses they want. This time round looking at Harriet’s business — dealing in fabric and tailoring goods — a dump was not something I could call a pass on. I couldn’t let her go on with selecting this particular place. I asked her to keep looking until she can find a more secure and better conditioned place. 

This week went well and I am proud to be a part of a life changing journey for Irene and her family. I want to thank you all who have made this possible. I wish we could all see the smile on Irene’s face and then her son eating his meal was priceless. Thank you for putting food on the many tables of the families we work with. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do much towards the end because I think my body is playing with me, I feel weak and a bit tired but don’t you worry because I don’t give up. I will be here. Thank you for supporting us once again, thank you for reading and following our blogs. Means a lot.

I wish you all a wonderful week, Stay Safe, Maintain Social Distancing and never forget to be Sociable. 

Yours sincerely 

Andrew Echel 

Director Progs, Uganda 

ISEE Solutions Society