In what ways have you seen progress?”...This was the question a woman recently asked me at one of our events. She was eager and excited, wanting to hear more. “Progress”…this is an interesting term when we are working with people. How do you measure progress in another person’s life…and better yet, who am I to do that?
Besides planting the actual seeds, this mulch "blanket" is perhaps the most essential part of the planting process, sometimes making the difference between a low and plentiful harvest. The trick? Finding the dried leaves to make it. Luckily, there is one crop that drops heaps of dried leaves and there's plenty of it around, even neighboring many of the women’s gardens! Unfortunately, it comes at a price. So how much is too much?
Muwanguzi and her children live in a rural Ugandan village forty minutes from the nearest town. Here in Bubugo village, attending school above Primary 7 (the American equivalent of 7th grade), or even regularly attending school at all, is rare. Studies show that 68% of Ugandan students are likely to drop out before even completing primary school (Mwesigwa). Why, 20 years after primary education, and 10 years after secondary education, was made free, is finishing primary school a rarity, rather than the norm? This is a look into the Ugandan school system and what makes it the way it is today.
Sugar came up again when I spoke with Ahamed, our Beads Project Coordinator, and asked about the effects of the recent and serious drought in Uganda. Among other shortages, he told me that the women were having a hard time affording sugar. Since the 9 month drought, sugar prices doubled from 3,000 Ugandan shillings to 6,000 or even 7,000 shillings. In my “America-ized” mind, this didn’t mean much. In US dollars, the price of sugar went from $0.83 to $1.67 - pocket change in our understanding. Also, why even mention the price of sugar, if there were dire shortages of actual food?