Day 6 was an incredibly uplifting one. After seeing the challenges facing the Kkoba Community on Day 5, including alcohol abuse, family violence and a lack of employment opportunities, it was so encouraging to see the impact the Foundation’s new community partners, The Real Uganda and Hopeline are having just down the road.
The day began with a two hour drive from Kampala to Mayindo Village, picking Leslie from The Real Uganda and Tony from Hopeline along the way. Our purpose for travelling to Mayindo was to spend the day with the Hopeline funded women’s group and our welcome could not have been warmer. We were met in full song by half a dozen ladies of various ages who attached animal skins to our waists and showed us how to dance to their upbeat tunes. Gerry’s fluid hip movements, a hybrid between the repertoires of Shakira and Beyoncé respectively, deserve to be singled out for special mention.
Once settled in the group helped prepare cassava for lunch and fetched water from the spring, before setting off for a tour of the farmland surrounding the women’s group. Tony explained that most of the women have been left by their husbands, who in many cases are in polygamous relationships with multiple children and have no means of supporting them. Hopeline, as well as the hard work of women in Mayindo, have empowered previously vulnerable women, helping to plant crops and raise livestock to provide the economic security they previously lacked.
Once back in the village we enjoyed a delicious lunch of cassava, beans, rice and spinach. The ladies then gave us a cooking lesson, teaching us to make banana pancakes, which were made with cassava flower and then deep fried. Absolutely delicious!
Sometimes a lack of female empowerment is described as a symptom of underdeveloped nations, but today it was quite clear it is actually a cause. How can a people be expected to claw their way out of poverty when half of the would-be entrepreneurs, politicians and community leaders are not given the opportunity to contribute to the mission? The women we met today were some of the most kindhearted, resilient and resourceful people we have met so far. They have been given the opportunity to be part of the solution and have taken it. Go girls!