Blogs from Uganda, Africa


Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Entebbe March 18th 2023

I had a last weekend in Uganda before heading to Kenya. In the morning the ladies and I went for a canoe ride into the swamp area of Lake Victoria in search of the elusive Shoebill Bird. These prehistoric looking birds can reach 3 ft tall. They get their name from the large bill that resemble a shoe. We saw many lovely birds along the way until we finally saw the Shoebill. He watched us for awhile and then flew away much higher and faster than you would expect his large body to allow. In the afternoon we had a gathering with some of the women from the organization. It started with a discussion of what makes a good man. Then we broke for food and dancing. DJ Smooth (Irene) had the music going and everyone ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Entebbe March 16th 2023

While in Uganda I wanted to visit as many of my new loan recipients as possible so I could see where they are starting from. I had the opportunity to meet most of them so I will share their stories with you: Jane: We went to Kampala last week to visit Jane at her stall. She received a loan for $2,000,000 UGX (Approx $600) so she could 'move up the food chain' for second hand clothes. She used to buy a few pieces of clothing from a supplier and bring them to the market to sell. Now with the loan she can buy a whole bail of clothes. An average bail might cost $1,000,000 UGX. She will get it very early in the morning and then people will come to her and buy the clothes to ... read more
Dorothy's Shop
Dorothy's Shop
Dorothy's Cows

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Entebbe March 14th 2023

Sparklers Mothers Club: These ladies were all in my mothers group for financial literacy as well as the tailoring courses I taught last year. They started a saving group to encourage each other at the same time. This is my only group loan thus far. They have started a tailoring shop together so they can work as a team. They received a $2,000,000 UGX ($600 USD) loan. They used the funds to buy materials and tools to start up the shop. They are currently renting the space next to RWO where the tailoring classes took place. I had a business planning meeting with this group to talk about how they want to expand in the near future. While they have made a great start there are still many things they need to work on as the ... read more
Sparkling Mother’s Tailoring Shop
Meeting with the Ladies
Meeting with the Ladies

Africa » Uganda » Central Region March 13th 2023

My main purpose for my quick visit to Uganda (other than to see my Kigo Girls!!) was to check-in with the women who have received micro loans over the last year. Many of the ladies have their loans totally paid back, two will finish at the end of the month, and then there are six new loans since the start of this year. All of the loans are matching loans. So the women have to save the same amount as the loan. That way it is a partnership in their future. I thought I would share a few of their stories of the women who received loans last year: Daisy stayed at the RWO shelter prior to it being closed during COVID. They were able to find her a foster family to take her in while ... read more
With Justine in her Store
Justine's Store
Headed to Justine's Store

Africa » Uganda » Northern Region » Murchison Falls NP March 11th 2023

Despite being born and raised here, Hope and Irene had never been on safari. So I decided we needed a girls trip into the wild! We took a 3 day trip to my favorite park in Uganda: Murchison Falls. I switched it up this time and booked us on a small group tour. So there were two ladies who joined us from the UK. One is a doctor and the other a nurse, both volunteering for a month working in palliative care. The first day we went to see the Murchison Falls, or as the locals call them Kabalega Falls. They at the apex of Lake Albert and Victoria Nile and is the most powerful waterfall in the world. We hiked to view them from several vantage points including one where you get pretty wet from ... read more
Love the Falls
A Tower of Giraffes
Base of the Falls

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Entebbe March 8th 2023

Kigo Girls (our nickname for our group chat as it was the street we lived on the first time I was in Uganda) have united and and it feels so good. I have spoken with Hope and Irene almost every day since returning from Uganda last March. So when I could return a year later almost to the day it was cause for celebration. I arrived on a Saturday so it gave us the weekend to catch up before work started on Monday. The girls had never had Champagne before so I bought some in Duty Free for use to celebrate our reunion. While I was gone Irene started construction on her new home. Currently she lives in a house behind where her new house will be. Her first task was to build a guest house ... read more
He renovated
Little Jamaica
Full Moon Boat ride on Lake Victoria

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Entebbe March 8th 2023

March 8th, International Women’s Day is a public holiday in Uganda. RWO took the day to celebrate the accomplishments of the women they support. Last year when I joined RWO they had their hairdressing class taking place and I started their tailoring class. Each course takes 3 - 6 months to complete. As part of the financial literacy courses I taught we discussed saving for specific goals. At the completion of courses the district has a certification test. While attending the courses the women saved the money required for the exam. I paid for materials and the bribes required to get the exams scheduled. We learned in February that 9 ladies passed the tailoring exam and 12 ladies passed the hair dressing exam many with A+ results. RWO decided to use IWD day to commemorate their ... read more
Sonia and Daisy
PM with the staff
The Mayor Speaking

Africa » Uganda October 10th 2022

I thought I would provide an update on what I have been up to before I take off on my next adventure. As I shared while in Uganda, the women had been saving money weekly to use to start small businesses to support themselves and their children. I was glad to see they were making such good progress toward their goal. But I also wanted them to get there faster. When I returned from Uganda, I researched non profits that offer micro loans as an option for these women to get started quicker. As I investigated, I found that even the biggest and well respected non profits can charge upwards of 20-25% interest rates for loans. While I imagine there are many reasons for this, I would never recommend that these ladies take on an interest ... read more
Example of a Second Hand Clothing Shop
Example of a Second Hand Clothing Shop
Example of a Small Shop

Africa » Uganda February 25th 2022

Friday morning was our monthly meeting with all of the community leaders, mentor parents, and peer mentors. The updates started with Madam Abby who is a very impressive mentor parent. She gave a 4 page report on her group including details about each member and many of the goals that the women have in her group. This includes the saving group they have started so they can have capital for their business goals. After Abby we heard from another group that is still struggling with how they can engage with RWO. Most of her questions were related to what RWO would give her members once their lessons were completed. Before RWO could answer, Madam Abby answered for us: RWO is giving you the biggest gift you can ask for: an education. When you educate a women, ... read more
Oh Maria
Friday Meeting
African Dancing

Africa » Uganda February 24th 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, ... read more
Stone Quary - no machines!
Stone Quary - no machines!
Stone Quary - no machines!

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