Wednesday 23 November 2011

Ten things we've seen in the last month!

When you live in a different country for a while it is easy to stop noticing the things which are different are remarkable.  Here are ten things we’ve seen in the last month that we wouldn’t expect to see at home:

People buying and eating live grass-hoppers at the market in town.

A man roller-blading up the hill on the main road through Kasese followed by a roller-blading apprentice.

Two bats flying around in our living room.

An owl perching on the electricity pole in the garden at dusk – probably hoping to catch some bats!

The pick-up  we hired to buy timber and iron sheets which needed a reverse push-start before it could drive forwards.

A small girl at church copying the baby-carrying mamas by strapping an empty Sprite bottle to her back with a shawl.

Four adults on one motor-bike.

A herd of elephants under a massive rainbow viewed from a public main road.

A woman using a parasol under a hot sun in 30c + heat carrying a baby swaddled in numerous blankets and a woolly hat – and sweating profusely!

 A cow  crashing through a school fence and running into a classroom.

Friday 11 November 2011

The Women's Co-operative

Gareth and I had a business idea a month or two ago that we thought would be fabulous for a women’s co-operative to start and run.  It is a very big idea by local standards and as we explained to the women the business plan there was a lot of sucking in of air and sighs of ‘ah!  Mama Samuel!’ as I seemed to explain the impossible.  When I explained that if it all works out then everyone in the co-operative stands to earn a good monthly salary, some become brave and talked about the idea as if it was going to be a reality.

The idea grew on the women and six of the bravest came forwards to start a co-operative.  They committed to save 500 shillings per day (12p) until they had raised enough with the local small business co-operative bank so that they could borrow what is to them a HUGE amount (£800) to start the business.

After a few false starts and two women dropping out and one woman joining (so now they are five) we eventually went to the co-operative savings and credit society to open an account so they could start saving and the temptation to just take the money back and carry on with life would be impossible.  Out of the five, three turned up to open the account and one signed on as chairperson, one as secretary and one as treasurer.  It is now official.  Five women are saving their money to look towards the future and create for themselves a good living as opposed to scraping about for a couple of hundred shillings per day to keep themselves going day to day.

One of the women is the pastor’s wife; another is a primary teacher; another is the daughter of the choir-leader at church and has just had a little baby girl with her husband; one is an artist and one is a woman whose husband recently sold their business to buy a plot of land, but that leaves them with no money coming in with which to build on that land.  They are an inspirational group of strong, determined women.