We woke up to much welcomed rain today. It’s been dry here for the last month and the crops haven’t looked very happy or the farmers either. Phoebe grows some vegetables and fruits and was pleased that her garden got a good soaking.
I never did get to use my raincoat however, because by 10:00 the rain had stopped and the sun came out. We were well on our way to visit two soap cooperatives housed in the same building but serving different groups of women. Pi and Tony took lots of video and ran about the room trying to get all the steps of the process documented. It all ended with singing and dancing and of course a lot of laughing. These women have doubled their initial investment and will soon be able to draw some income from these ventures.
The afternoon was spent visiting Balibaseka Secondary School. Phoebe taught a menstrual management and reproductive health class to incoming students while Pisie, Tony and I interviewed 6 girls ranging from age13 to 18. These girls had been using our pads for the last year. We were touched and amazed at how articulate they were and their words of gratitude brought tears to our eyes. Soon we’ll have videoed success stories to share so that everyone can hear these extraordinary girls.
We also interviewed a male teacher Jude, who spoke with us about the importance of boys understanding about what girls are experiencing and about them being respectful and helpful during this time in a girl’s life. He voiced his interest in a boy’s curriculum and agreed to teach this class once we have it ready.
The workday ended with a visit to a 15 year-old girl’s house an hour’s walk from the school we had been visiting. We took the car but Merce and her sister Sharon make this hike every morning and afternoon in order to attend school each day. Both girls have received our kit and agreed to let us visit their home and talk with their mother, a single mom of four girls. Rose supports her children by selling cassava on the side of the road and breaking stone in the rock quarry at the edge of her village. Both jobs bring in enough income to pay school supplies but judging from the house not much more. We spoke at length about the usefulness of the MoonCatcher kits and what life had been like before hand. We were touched by the openness of the mother and the children and felt we had been graciously welcomed into a piece of intimate Ugandan life.
I am tired, covered in red dust and feeling pretty grateful right now.