Friday, July 20, 2012

Visiting the Youth! [Project Progress Report]


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

This is the home and family of Fred!  Both of his parents died suddenly a few years back so he is now living with his vibrant and hilarious grandparents.  Fred showed me around the compound where I saw a bunch of coffee being dried and banana trees.  The pig he got from the project was in a sty right next to his grandmothers two pigs.  She thanked me so much for giving Fred a pig then said, "but I also need chachu! will you buy me chachu?!" She said this jokingly of course, but how could I say no to her! When I gave her some shillings to buy chachu for the pigs, her husband said, "You give my wife money but none to me and I am the boss!"  She told him, "Well I do all the work so I will take the money!"  haha.  This was by far the funniest family out of the bunch.  

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 DiseaseTheir 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 itHis 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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Thank you! 


Monday, July 16, 2012

A fishing village and Ssese Islands!


The fishing village
A young girl fetching water in Lake Victoria
These doggie kept me company the whole time I was sun bathing :)
Saw this man 3 times during my stay on the Islands and he always had this doll in hand! 500 shillings and he will sing for you and make her dance haha


This weekend the Interns and I took a trip to Ssese Islands.  The islands are in located in the huge Lake Victoria.  We left early on Friday from Masaka and hired a taxi to take us to the port, across on the ferry, and the rest of the way to our hotel.  I'm positive we were given Mzungu prices, but I'm usually willing to pay that for convince, especially when I have no idea where we are going. When we got to the ferry we waited for about hour for it to get fuel so we could leave.  We ran into our language tutor from week 1 and he helped us kill time but walking us around the fishing village.  Once we got to the islands he drove through the forests where of course, we got a flat tire. 

When we got to our hotel we were all so excited to see actual sand! Almost like a real beach and I had to keep reminding myself it was just a lake.  Everything around us was perfect and a large gang of dogs followed our every move.  It was really cute at first. We used this time to relax and get away from our sometimes routine lives in Masaka.  We all watched the sunset then got an amazing view of the Milky Way.  I couldn't believe I was seeing it. (At least I really hope it was the Milky Way haha)

The next day, Breana, Jackie, and I took a boda boda tour around the island.  Our driver drove us through villages and to some really great over looks.  At some moments it was scary how fast we were going but I'm really glad they convinced me to tag along :).

On Sunday Ciara and I decided to head back to Masaka and I think this was the biggest adventure of the trip, just trying to make it home.  We ended up taking a hour and a half boda ride from one side of the Island to the other to catch the ferry.  When we got there we discovered the ferry wasn't leaving for another two hours so we hand to take a WOODEN CANOE to the main land.  I say that with emphasis because when I say just a wooden canoe it really was, but a bigger version.  They managed to put 5 boda bodas, sacks of fresh fish, and about 15 people on it.  It was definately an experience.  When we arrived at the mainland an eager taxi driver stuffed us into his 5 seater car along with 8 other people and a live chicken.  Not the most comfortable ride but it definitely did the job!  

This weekend was filled with a million and one T.I.A moments, but it was a much needed get away.  Sites like Ssese Islands remind me how lucky I am to be in the position I'm in.


2 weeks until home!!