One of my favorite things to do on every trip I take is to spend time with the locals, seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their daily lives.  As you can imagine, poverty has a way of crushing dreams because every ounce of energy goes into mere existence and survival which leaves little room for dreaming.  Poor people don’t even want to go there because its too painful.  Why even think about something that seems impossible?

But I really believe dreams are one of God’s gifts to His children.  They help give direction and meaning to live, as well as purpose and promise of a better future.  So I love to gently probe into the lives of people to see the deep dreams of their hearts- which is what we did at the end of the day with the jewelry ladies.  We all agreed that we do want to resurrect the jewelry business because it has been so successful and has drastically changed the lives of 76 people.  However, other income-generating ideas emerged as we talked.

-Let’s start with Grandma Ketty.  She is a fiesty, spry woman with salt and pepper hair, a leathered face, dancing eyes and a strong spirit that never says “die.”  She’s clearly one of the spark plugs in the group.  She is 78, and trust me, she has endured a lot in her lifetime.  She’s been to hell and back.  She really believes she can make some serious money off of pigs.  She tried chickens and that didn’t work, so she shifted to pigs.  And she’s not just dreaming- she’s got herself one fine sow that any pig farmer would be proud of.  The sow looks like she’s expecting a litter in a month.  In my opinion, it looks like she’s good for ten to twelve little ones.  Grandma Ketty was proud as a peacock showing her off.  She had “ka-ching” “ka-ching” written all over her face.  One hundred dollars of pig feed would get her first litter ready for market.  And then, “ka-ching” “ka-ching.”


kettyLet’s start with Grandma Ketty.  She is a fiesty, spry woman with salt and pepper hair, a leathered face, dancing eyes and a strong spirit that never says “die.”  She’s clearly one of the spark plugs in the group.  She is 78, and trust me, she has endured a lot in her lifetime.  She’s been to hell and back.  She really believes she can make some serious money off of pigs.  She tried chickens and that didn’t work, so she shifted to pigs.  And she’s not just dreaming- she’s got herself one fine sow that any pig farmer would be proud of.  The sow looks like she’s expecting a litter in a month.  In my opinion, it looks like she’s good for ten to twelve little ones.  Grandma Ketty was proud as a peacock showing her off.  She had “ka-ching” “ka-ching” written all over her face.  One hundred dollars of pig feed would get her first litter ready for market.  And then, “ka-ching” “ka-ching.”

harrietAnd then there’s Harriet.  She loves making women look pretty.  And what woman any place in the world doesn’t like shinin’?  Harriet is the one in the neighborhood who does most of the hair-plaiting (or braiding).  And in her humble opinion, she’s by far the best in the area.  The other women seemed to agree- so hey, why not?  “Harriet’s Beauty Salon”- $250 and she’s clippin and plaitin’!

Nesusanxt we’ll go to Susan. She probably has the build, strength, endurance, and determination to putmost men on any construction crew to shame.  Let’s just say the girl knows how to work.  She’s a brick-maker.  She works from sun up to sun down and can produce 300 bricks in a day!  Word has it that a team of four men working the same amount of time can produce about 400 bricks.  Susan’s daily income at this rate is about $10 a day- not a lot  of money, but compared to the average Ugandan salary of $1-2 a day she can do pretty well.  Susan is a good canidate to expand her brick-making enterprise.  To be honest, bricks seem to fit her better than jewelry.  I think I can relate.  I actually did some research and have come across an awesome new brick-making machine that could be just the ticket for a Susan and her construction crew, and the cost is a mere $1,500.

roseRose has a very practical business idea.  The vast majority of the women in Uganda cook with homemade charcoal that comes in 100-150 pound bags.  The typical family goes through one bag a month. This is a daily necessity, so needless to say that anyone providing charcoal has a business that’s in constant demand.  Rose’s idea is simple- buy charcoal bags in the country for $6-8 and sell them in the city for $10-12.  With a delievery system and regular customers, she could be up and running in no time!  That’s a pretty decent profit margin.  The purchase of four bags of charcoal for a total of $30 could launch her business.

Lack of quality food has created many health problems in Northern Uganda.  The average human needs more than rice, flour and beans.  Plus who likes to eat the same thing every day?  When I raised the issue of a community co-op garden where the ladies would share the labor and the harvest, they lit up.  Within in 24 hours, word got back to me that Ketty donated a chunk of land and the ladies had already cleared a plot and were waiting for some seeds.  So Tiffany and I went back to the farmer’s corner and got 12 varieties of vegetable seeds- enough to last their group for three growing seasons within this year.  Now all they need is a pedal-pump irrigation system so they can water their garden in the dry season.  The irrigation unit can be purchased in Gulu for only $350, but it will put an abundance of healthy food on the table for 21 mommas and their 55 hungry kids.  The thought of this makes me smile.

If you feel prompted to help make any of these dreams come true, contact me and I’ll get you connected.  Thanks so much.

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