ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

Week of July 18

July 13

Greetings to you all,

I hope that you are all well today. If not I hope it gets better by the hour. Thank you for keeping up with us every day, especially on what we do. We can’t stop to function because for some of our partners, their lives are dependent on how successfully they run their business and that sometimes requires us to constantly supervise or check on them. 

Today was a bit slow because the weather was a bit cold and it drizzled in most parts of Kampala, which was actually a good thing. I was able to make contact with Asia B, Anna M and Hadijja N. 

Asia

Asia B. is our Mama who works in one of the major markets in Kampala called Kalerwe market. This market sells fresh foods mostly and fruits but Asia sells books, cold drinks and poly wrapping bags. The business is closed for a bit for a few days because of some illness. She has malaria and has not been able to work for a few weeks now. She is getting treatment for it and that’s good. 

Meanwhile as she was away, one of the former employees of the market decided to hire rascals who caused chaos at the market. They were hired to beat the market authorities including Asia who was a fellow employee at the time. Luckily Asia was away due to the sickness and that’s how she and her shop survived. People who saw these men storm the market say that they briefly stopped at Asia’s shop before heading to other shops which they kicked and beat up some of the employees. This chaos actually caused the death of one person and the market was closed for a few hours. It was reported that a few military men had been deployed at the market at the moment to help restore sanity. 

Anna M. who is also our part time volunteer who helps in the girls sanitary hygiene and reproductive health classes is doing okay. I had the opportunity to catch up with her a little about her life and she is doing just fine. She is part time baking snacks and selling them to local shops around her community. She has been a bit busy recently because managed to adopt a 6-yr old boy from one of the orphanage homes in a place called Jinja district. She said she had always wanted to adopt a child and now she managed to get all the paperwork done four months ago. Anna is super happy about this and I am glad she got that sorted without hardships. 

I managed to get a hold of Hadijja N through one of the people we have worked with during the recent years, William. William heads an organization called HEYFU and they are passionate about young women but also health centered programs. He located Hadijja and also got me her number so we spoke for a few minutes.

Hadijja pre-Covid

Hadijja is doing okay. Hadijja is one of our Mamas who are in the food business and she operates a roadside chips stall at the moment. She used to operate a restaurant and a bar at one point but because of some misfortunes, she had to close the business and the lockdown happened. 

She is well at the moment and operates her chips stall. She opens early these days because of the restrictions and lockdown. She can’t close later than 7 o’clock because the curfew for road side business is 7pm. Police start to make a sweep on the street by 6pm and they are given 30min to close. During the normal days 6-8pm was prime time for Hadijja but now it’s impossible. The good thing that she is happy about, is that at least she can operate early and leave early before curfew time. In this way she is able to sustain her family and little girl who just turned 2yrs recently. 

The times have surely changed and many of our Mama Nguvu partners are adjusting and adopting new strategies to survive. 

We want to thank you always for your support during this lockdown and second phase of the Covid 19 wave in Uganda. It has devastated the country and many people are dying every day. We encourage people here every day to continue wearing their masks, wash their hands and maintain social distance. Please stay safe, the world still needs you and your families need you too. 

July 14

Greetings to you all,

I hope you are well today but those of you who are not well, we send you positive thoughts to make you feel better and to comfort you. 

It is day 26 since lockdown was initiated. People are crying left and right as the local news has been showing. People don’t have food and some are eating only one meal a day as the news showed. The Prime Minister promised to send people Covid fund relief and as of her report 90% of the people who are supposed to receive have all received this money. It is amazing that none of our Mamas has received these funds. Not at least to my knowledge and it’s absurd that the real people needing this money are not receiving it. 

Secondly, there is still a large scarcity of vaccines and the government is still focusing on delivering the second shots rather than admitting the first. I spoke to one of my relatives who is a medical worker and she confirmed this phenomenon. I hope the government can get access to more vaccines and help manage the spread of this deadly virus. 

I spoke to three Mama’s today Annet C, Pulakiseda N and Amina A. 

Pulakiseda

After hearing about the riot at the Kalerwe market yesterday I had to call Pulakiseda to find out how she is doing because she has a shop in this market. I am glad to have found out that she is okay. She opened the shop today but the business was not as good and then also there was still deployment of police. This is basically to try and keep law and order in the market plus its surroundings. 

Amina

Amina A. is recovering slowly from her illness and making progress. Her children are now well and fully recovered at the moment. We will wait for her to fully recover before she decides her next move. 

Annet

Annet C. is not complaining much because she remained open teaching her students. This really disappointed me a bit because she defied the lockdown directives and she put her family at risk. This is majorly because all her 3 students are not boarding students but rather commuters. This means even if they wore masks, they would still carry the virus somehow. Anyways at the moment things seem to have been fine and that is all that matters sometimes. I nevertheless urged her to send them away until further notice. 

In my opinion this is how most people have actually killed their families by exposing themselves to such risks. The government has not yet even fully vaccinated 10% of the population and this surely presents a risk of infection to most people. It is true that most people can’t afford food anymore because the financial aid hasn’t come through yet for them. I hope that the government can surely get more vaccines for us so we can get back to our new normal. People need to get back to work that’s for sure because otherwise we will be headed to an economic crisis sooner than we think. 

I want to continue to thank you all for following and supporting us as we continue to try and end period poverty in the lives of the people we serve. The task is great but nonetheless we keep fighting. 

Stay safe until we meet again. 

July 15

Today was a pretty hot day, one of those days you wished the storm or rain came down from the heavens but guess what? We are not in the position to decide what happens to us sometimes but the truth is life goes on. Amidst the challenges that day to day people like our Mamas go through, it is sad to say that none of them have received their relief fund. 

I spoke to Maria, Christine and Dorah today but none of them has seen these funds. Absolutely nothing good came from their lips to the government and the people in charge. One of them said, “…at least let them lift the lockdown so we can die trying.” Most of them are tired and frustrated with how these things are being handled. Meanwhile some of these Mamas also in the first phase didn’t get the relief food that was distributed. What shall we do? What is the way forward now? Yesterday while I spoke to Pulakiseeda, she said to me that she will never take the vaccine. When I asked why not, she told me that her neighbor 3 shops down had just buried her son about a week ago from Covid. He had already gotten the jab. The question for many people like her is, is this vaccine real? Will it help? Why don’t I simply wear my mask and sanitize as often as I can? This is where we are at the moment. 

Maria

Maria A. is okay but still struggling with the issue of feeding the piglets. She really loves her animals and does everything possible to ensure that her animals are well. Oftentimes she would get left over food from schools and restaurants around but now, she doesn’t get much anymore. This supplementary feed would help her sustain and maintain a good balance in feeding but the recent weeks since lockdown have been terrible. She has not been getting much from her gardens lately so the situation has not been the best for her. 

Christine (during construction of piggery, 2020)

Christine N. fortunately has been doing well. The chicks are growing really well. Her piglets too are looking good, she said. The sale of the bigger chickens was very successful and she left about 20 cocks. 

Otherwise all the remaining birds and piglets are very healthy and they are doing well. We hope this can stay this way for the moment because I really don’t want any more bad news from our people. 

Dorah

Dorah A. is back in town from her village in the West Nice region of Uganda. Those who follow us know that Dorah got Covid just before she lost her dad, who she eventually had to travel and bury. During this time, the president of the republic of Uganda announced lockdown restrictions that involved restricting people from moving from one district to another. Long story short, she managed to make it to Kampala and has since fully recovered. 

Speaking with her today, she is fully fit and is planning a pilgrimage to the central district to view the availability of the stall and space she was eyeing. I will follow her up to see if she got the place. 

We can’t afford to lose, we have to  continuously fight every day and never lose hope. Thank you for supporting ISEE Solutions and thank you for the positive vibes. Please continue to wear your masks, sanitize and wash your hands. I have the hope that tomorrow will be a better day. 

July 16

Greetings to you all,

I hope you are well. I am honored to be writing to you again but for the last time this week. This week’s journey has been incredible as we were able to reach just about 15 Mamas in total. It’s always an honor to speak to them in more ways than one, to catch up but also to know how their businesses are doing. From Annet’s to the Dorah’s and Maria whose businesses are all over the place but are still hopeful that everything will be alright. 

The Covid 19 and variant situations are not far from bad and worse but people are still hanging in there. We still have challenges with vaccination of the masses and I believe there’s more to be done especially with sensitization on the part of the government and the public. It was disappointing this week when I spent over 30min on the phone trying to encourage one of our Mama’s to go and get the vaccine. Obviously, it is an individual choice for one to get the vaccine but then they must have concrete information about what they are talking about. Except this time she had no idea what she was talking about so I encouraged her to take the vaccine because of the benefits rather than the fears. 

Today I spoke to the two Jane’s we have on the program. It is amazing that the both of them also do the same business of selling water to their communities. They are also both grandparents and both take care of their grandchildren. We like to identify them as Jane tank one and Jane tank two because Jane tank one was the first on the program and Jane tank two joined us much later. 

Jane

Jane tank one is doing great with her water tank business but she also makes paper bags on the side. She said the long dry spell has ensured that she has a constant demand for water and her customers keep coming unlike when it rains as people try to harvest water and this affects her sales. The supply from the National water people has also been consistent over the last few weeks so she has totally had no interruptions in her supply of water. 

The challenge has been her paper bag side business which has been slow majorly because of the lockdown. Roadside businesses that are usually her main customers aren’t operating at full capacity so they don’t demand the paper bags as they used to and also she doesn’t get paper supply as easily as she used to before lockdown. Meanwhile she is not sad about the current situation as much because she is doing some little business more than most of the people in her community. 

Her family has been well and she is glad none of them has fallen sick, even Francis, her grandson is doing okay. He has missed lots of physiotherapy because of the lockdown but he is doing well. He is happy and he is eating more, she was complaining that he was growing bigger and getting harder to carry. 

I was happy to speak to her in the mood she was in today. I hope things stay that way for a while for her.  

Jane

Jane N. water tank two is healthy. She is doing okay. No business at all for her because almost everyone has moved from the area. All the plots around her home were sold off to a property developer who built a shopping arcade and has evicted most of them. Jane, who has been the last one on the piece of property, was negotiating with the developer on how much she should be compensated but things got a bit tricky when her separated husband came back. 

The story is long but the short version is that they both contributed to buy this piece of land but I understand that Jane contributed more. The separated husband heard about the sale and he came back to confuse the whole process. Jane wants to be given a fairer share but the man wants it to be divided in half. To Jane this is unfair because the money they are offering her may not exactly help them buy and build another home. She wants another home because she is already taking care of her grandkids but the man just wants some money to put in his pocket.

The last she said is that they are on the brink of an agreement so she would let me know what happens. I hope the man doesn’t bring any other complications because Jane is tired of fighting. 

Written by 

Andrew Echel

Director of Programs, Uganda. 

ISEE Solutions Society. 

Planned outage

Hello all,

There will be a planned outage of the website on July 13 2021 from approximately 3AM to 9AM PST. Our servers will be moved from the USA to Canada during this time (physically moved, not just virtually). You can expect that our @iseesolutions emails will NOT work at this time and this website will be blank. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.