Yesterday I went back to Kabonera Sub-County to visit some of the participants in my Income Generating Activity. I was really excited that I was able to go back to see them after a couple weeks and see them at their home and meet their family members. I was also nervous because I didn't know how some of them would be doing, but I was very hopeful! I was accompanied by Kitvou Staff, a Ugandan college intern who studies development and wanted to learn more about my project, and one of the community facilitators. Here are some of the youth I met up with:
This is Shadia! She received 2 hens and chachu (feeds) from the project. I went to her home and was welcomed by her and her mother. When we got there they were busy cleaning and drying maze to sell to people to make posho, a local dish here in Uganda. They brought out mats and chairs for me and the other Kitovu Staff and we were able to catch up on life with them since after the distribution day. Shadia's Father died of AIDS and her Mother was left to raise all of the children alone. Shadia and her younger brother were forced to leave school to help make up for the lost income after her Fathers passing. When I brought the hens, she was eager to show me the eggs that the hen just laid! I asked if she was going to eat the eggs or sell them, but she had plans much bigger than that. She said that she was going to wait for them to hatch, then keep some and sell some, save up her money, and use that money to learn hair dressing skills. I was so excited to hear the plans and goals that she set for herself. Her Mother was also pleased because she didn't have enough money to support Shadia in hair dressing, but now that she is equipped with her own personal IGA, she can save up for it herself.
The next home I went to visit was Joesph and Margaret. They are siblings and each received a pig from the project. When I got there I was sad to find out that they weren't home because they were still out working in the fields. However, their grandmother and mom was home. Their mom said that their father died and she is left to care for her two children and other family members. She expressed many concerns about money and finances and that times were really rough for her family. Her only source of income is the jack fruit she sells at the markets in Masaka. I really pray that the piglets will hurry up and grow so they can also act as additional means of income. Before leaving I bought a jack fruit that was way to huge haha
Ivan and his grandmother had a compound FILLED with IGA's. His grandmother has coffee, matooke, goats, and pigs. Both of Ivan's parents have died so she is now taking care of him. The reason she has so many IGA's is because she has so many family members that she is providing for, and sometimes the income still isn't enough. With all of the pigs that they own, I was worried that Ivan's would just get stuck in the bunch, but when I asked which one was his, he knew exactly which one! That really makes me happy because that means that the youth will benefit and views it as his own. He said that when he starts to make money from the pig, he will learn mechanics :)
Next stop was Lillian and Peters house! They are siblings and each got a pig. Both of them had to leave school because of Sickle Cell Disease. Their compound was beautiful and their mother was very welcoming. I visited their pigs and they were telling me funny stories about how one of the pigs only likes to eat avocados. I asked them what their plans were after they make profits from the pigs. Peter said that he wants to learn mechanics and how to work on TV's and Radios. Lillian said they she will buy a sewing machine and learn to sew. They both seemed very excited!!
Finally I got to see Henry! I know I'm not supposed to pick favorites but he is definitely one of them! Henry was the one who gave an amazing speech at the distribution ceremony. Henry lost both of his parents (father to AIDS and mother for an unknown reason) so now he is living with an aunt and his older brother, I wasn't able to meet them because they weren't home. He showed us the pigsty he built and the extras he added to it, like dried banana leaves to the pigsty to keep the mosquitoes from biting it! His future plans were brilliant. He wants to expand his pigsty, so he won't be selling any of the piglets he produces for a while he says. After he gets a lot, he will sell only some of them off and use the money to hire someone to make bricks. He will do the same thing again but then use the money for iron sheets. He said that he will eventually save up enough money and materials to build himself a house!! Henry will be doing this in the typical, African businessperson way - building/buying only what you can afford at the time, never buying on credit. I can't wait until the day he has a new house and a huge piggery in his back yard. In all of times I met with Henry, he was always so determined and attentive to everything. I pray that he accomplishes every goal he dreams up :)
Lets expand "Uplifting Ugandan Youth through IGA's"!! There are many other children/youth that would greatly benefit from this project! Kitovu Mobile promises to keep me updated on the youth I personally worked with and hopes to raise enough funds to do the same thing with other peer support groups!
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