ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

Update April 30, 2021

Asia

Greetings to you all,

I am glad we have come to the end of April, I must say it is one of the best months in the year.  Like I narrated last week, surely I had some fun and I concluded the week with something interesting. 

This week started on a good note and I will start with the interesting stories for me. I visited Amina A., Jennifer N., Angel N., Justine N. and Pulakiseda N.

Amina making chapati

My most interesting story or visit was with Amina A., she is doing great. I loved the fact that she has added a new business to the old one. She started a chapati making business for the fasting month for her Moslem counterparts. Her home is located just next to a mosque so on top of her ripe bananas, she added chapati because it is a delicacy enjoyed by the Moslem fraternity here in Uganda. Every afternoon she starts to make her dough then fries the chapati and sells them later that afternoon opposite the entrance of the mosque. This has ensured her sustainability this month of fasting. I was so proud that she was doing this. The banana business is still going on and she got some great bunches of bananas, this is her niche product and I don’t want her to lose it, so I was glad. I hope she can keep up with the pressure. 

Amina with her bananas

Unfortunately she has a very big bump on her hip that has been causing her some considerable pain over the last few weeks since my last visit. I am hoping it’s not a big deal but I asked her to see a doctor about it. Apparently it causes so much pain in her right leg so her mobility has been hindered by this bump.

Jennifer sorting shoes for sale

My next visit was with Jennifer N., who deals in second hand shoes. The business has been growing since the year started majorly because students have been only going back in intervals. The going back to school in phases has helped create somewhat a sustainable market for shoes and she has been doing week and in general the sales have been up there. 

She has been opening up to 15 bales a week which she says is really a great number. She averages 3 bales a day, a great return. I am glad that she is really happy with what is going on in her business. We will keep checking on her. 

Her first born son has successfully finished primary seven which is the lightest class of his grade. We hope that he performs as good as he expects.

Angel in front of her shop

I finally got to meet with Angel N., who I have been searching for all this while. It’s been about 5-6 weeks of looking and this week I managed to meet her after her expedition of helping build her mothers house. It’s always our joy to hear our Mamas doing more than just their business, by adding another element to what they do. This time it was a social involvement with family to help build her mothers house, who underwent surgery a few months ago. Angel spent a lot of her savings trying to treat her mother and provide after care services that cost her a lot more money. She then recently went to help build a house for a mother and according to her, by the time she left the house was almost complete with a ceiling required and some little things. I was honestly happy to meet her and also hear of the development. 

Unfortunately this move set her backwards in my review and assessment that I have since decided to review her boost again. We had made progress in the review but when she got lost, my review got a setback so I have decided to restart the entire process again. I will take another couple of months to review and exam whether the boost will be viable then.

Asia

My visit with Asia made me think about a boost for her business. Asia has been trying to make ends meet with her business for a while. She originally started with book making and has added several other efforts like beverage selling and she has done well. During my previous visit before last she had requested to boost her business with sodas, water and juice. I was glad to see progress when I saw her shelves filled with bottles of water. Water is cheaper than juice and soda so I was happy that even without our help she has been able to invest in her business. This is usually one of my pointers to Mamas seeking boosts. I have since decided to push her name forward to try and get her business boost. She needs 200,000/- Uganda shillings to buy sodas for her shop. This will probably help increase her capital and income.

During my visit she was extracting banana juice using grass and banana leaves. This is a type of local juice enjoyed by the population in the market where she dwells. She extracts it by hand, chills it in her fridge and sells it to market dwellers throughout the day. She actually will sell up to 20 litres of this juice a day. 

Pulakiseda

Business has not been going on well for the last three weeks for Pulakiseda because the market road was under repair. Since her stall is right by the entrance of the market and the road, this eventually slowed down her business because the dirt was a lot so she had to close for a few days. Hence a dip in her sales per day and the week. 

Otherwise she is now well. She is getting back on track and is looking forward to moving on from this road making event.

Justine

Finally for today’s edition, I visited Justine N. Justine is our only Mama who deals in saucepan hiring. She will usually rent to anyone who has a congregation of more than 100 people. This includes weddings, funerals and other forms of gatherings. Obviously business has not been going on well for her because of the issue of social gatherings and social distancing. This has reduced demand for her services throughout this time. Times have been hard for most of our Mamas because kids are returning to school every other month and their fees have essentially doubled because they have to now take certain accessories to school in the effort of trying to fight the pandemic. 

Luckily she has a veggie stall that has been her backbone for more than a year now. She sells small things like onions, tomatoes and other veggies. This has sustained her and her family. We can only hope that the season remains good for her to get her veggies for sale. 

Justine serving customers

It was truly an awesome week for me as always, I hope to find more optimism in the following weeks ahead. Thank you for always following what we do weekly, it means a lot to us. The feedback has been positive and is much appreciated. 

Please stay safe, maintain social distancing but remember to remain sociable. The world needs a little more loving in this pain and anguish. Spread the love.

Our Mama Boost of the Week is:

Asia N. has requested boost worth 200,000/- Uganda shillings to help her buy sodas to add into her shop. This will boost her capital and increase her profits eventually.

Yours Sincerely

Andrew Echel 

Director for Programs, Uganda

ISEE Solutions Society

Update 4/24

Margaret

Greetings to you all,

I hope that you are well. As for me, I am very well because I have had quite a week. On the 19/04/1989 at 13:30hrs the world became a better place after the arrival of what I like to call the “LEGEND”. This week I celebrated 32 yrs of age, I was allowed to take off the day to celebrate me and reflect on life and prepare for the next phase of life. I was treated to my favorite meal and drink, then a few follow-up small parties of about 3-4 people who bought me cake and meals. It has been a good week for me. Unfortunately all this partying meant that my work would not be as usual but yes we got some work done including an interview with Rovence N. whose story we will release anytime now.

This week, I will share with you only 4 stories from Rovence N, Francoise L, Margaret N and Aidah K. 

Rovence

 I will start with Rovence with whom we had a wonderful chat getting to know her and sharing her story with me and you for a later time. She has done really well for herself over the years and I can’t wait to share with you the tale of Rovence. This year she is doing okay, although the season is and has been bad for all restaurateurs because of the Ramadan. The food sales have dropped a bit lower than the usual sales from about 10 days ago. We will have to keep our fingers crossed for them because this is a challenge we can’t take away or eliminate so we have to wait it out.

Aidah

The same story goes for Aidah K. but she has a temporary fix for the challenge by making white porridge and ground nut mix with plantain called “katogo”. Katogo (pronounced “cat-toe-go”) simply translates into mix or jumble for lack of a better word. They usually come with a base which is usually carbohydrates and some kind of sauce and also comes in different forms especially plantain and cassava then the sauce is beans, ground nuts, offals and sometimes meat. It’s an interesting dish that if the future allows, each one should try it when you make your way here. These two meals are some of the most consumed foods during the fasting season and Moslems use it to break their fast. The porridge is made out of corn flour, mixed and boiled with milk (sometimes without the milk). It is very filling and after more than 8 hrs without eating a thing, this is the kind of meal you might want. 

This is what Aidah has turned to when she closes her chips business at about 3pm every afternoon. She will then start preparing the meals synonymously and it will be ready in about 2-3hrs.

This must have been a mix food week because even my third visit Francoise L. also cooks another kind of mix of maize (actual maize seeds) cooked together with beans. I didn’t even realize this until I started typing this segment. Anyways Francoise is doing okay, she is living on the edge but she has managed to keep the business afloat for this while. Her challenge  was the weather and the rain to be specific because she sells by the road with no kind of shelter. Over the past few weeks she has been putting together some savings to help her buy a tarpaulin tent to shelter her business because the rain ruins everything when it falls. This is good progress for her because we have been working on creating some level of independence and sustainability among the Mamas. This is a good step in creating this Mama we have always wanted. Otherwise she is well, her niece who was diagnosed with TB is now doing well because she is getting treatment.

Margaret

Margaret N. has been having a hard time dealing with the demise of her mother since February this year. She has been making long trips to her village and trying to ensure that her mother’s resting place is constructed and finished well. Finally she got that done and my meeting with her  was very good as she smiled more and she was happy. I am looking forward to working with her in the next few weeks or months to see how we can serve her. 

Finally the week has come to an end for me, my birthday week. I have two appointments remaining, one on Friday and the other on Saturday and I hope that is all. My body is tired and worked out but truly it has been a good week for me and I want to thank everyone who has made it special and memorable. I guess it is never late to be a part of these celebrations hahaha! 

Thank you again to all of you who support this organization and the work we do. You have made me age with pride and satisfaction, you have given us meaning. We want to wish you the best of wishes throughout this year with good health, peace and joy.

Stay Safe, Maintain Social Distance but Stay Sociable.

As always I remain,

Andrew Echel

Director of Programs, Uganda

ISEE Solutions Society