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Published: February 26th 2022
On Wednesday morning we went and met with Alice who is a mentor parent in one of the groups that I have not been teaching, primarily because they are not as organized. Alice has 6 children and has been working at the stone quarry for 22 years. Her job is to brake the larger stones into smaller stone. She does this with her hands using a larger stone as a tool. This is an extremely hard and dangerous job. Not only can they hurt themselves, but they are also inhaling the stone dust that is around them. Through the years she has brought her children to work with her, which is not a good playground for children. Her 16 year old son is not in school so has started to work at the quarry with her, but has already injured himself and starting to experience breathing problems. She has sent a few of the children up north to live with her mother as it is cheaper there. Her goal is to save enough money that she can open a stall to sell groceries and leave the quarry.
Later in the day, this brought up a discussion about what
products that Uganda exports. Up until recently coffee had always been the largest export followed by milk, fish, and tobacco. But, within the last few years Gold has been surpassed Coffee (5 times as much as coffee). But, Uganda is not rich in gold resources. It is estimated that only 10% of this gold was actually mined in Uganda. The rest comes from the neighbor countries. It is brought across the bordered illegally then exported as Ugandan gold. This illegal trade has continued to fuel the wars in Congo and South Sudan. But, because the government is very friendly with the mining companies it is unlikely this will change.
In the afternoon I had my final class with the women’s group. I learned in my last class that they call themselves the Sparkling Mother's Club. This is because most of them have teenage daughters and want to help those girls sparkle. We went through an overview of what we have learned during the class and receive their feedback. I was very happy to hear how the women are already implementing what they have learned in their business. For example, during the marketing class we talked about if
you get a new product you could have your current customers try it for free and give feedback. The very next day, one of the women brought chapati to the office she had made, asked us to tried it. After getting positive feedback, she asked if she could supply it for our Friday meeting instead of the local grocery store. And like that, she had her first order. It was also so lovely to hear how many of them have started basic bookkeeping for their business so they can track if they are in fact making a profit. They finished the class with a very sweet gift, card, and letter. Madam Abbie made the shoes and received an order for more of them when the ladies saw them.
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