This update is a THANK YOU to all who have made this day possible. Today (FINALLY!) I had everything I needed to get the lady down the street started on her chapatti stand. This included the following;
Stove, wooden table, wooden display case with glass windows, frying pan, flat pan for (hopefully) future rolex making, coal bag the size of a large man, rolling pin, 6 bags of flour, baking powder, onions, cooking oil, plastic bags, and metal spatula/spoon
The cost for everything was less than $100.00 but for some here, that is a small fortune. There is no way she could have saved that amount of money by herself.
In a previous rambling update, I spoke a little bit about this woman and what I wanted to do. Like I mentioned, I see cases of extreme poverty every day and sometimes poverty to the point that people are literally starving. No one deserves to be in a situation like this and it is hard realizing I can’t help everyone at this very instant. One thing I have learned here is the difference between giving to help a person live verse giving to help a person live at this moment. After spending nearly a month here, I have definitely formed some opinions and feel confident being able to support what I believe. For example, some types of giving seem to be self-defeating. A lot of people come in and with a sense of guilt and feeling overwhelmed, want to give money to anyone they see. It may seem sweet and kind but stick around, and you see what unfortunately can happen. When I walk down the street in the morning, I will sometimes find the kids who can speak about 10 words of English-three of them happen to be “give me money” or, “give me something.” Of course when you see a child in rags holding out their skinny hand, you feel sad and maybe like you SHOULD give them something! But would you do that in the U.S or Spain or anywhere else? Probably not. These kids have homes, are being fed and may not have the luxuries we consider necessities but "mzungus" coming in and handing them candies and money leaves them believing they are entitled to it or that "all mzungus are rich and therefore should always give them something." What happens next is these kids are always looking for a handout rather than finding ways to earn it. Then there are the people who have very little but pride and so refuse to ask for anything even when they or their families are in need.
After talking to everyone from a Peace Corps Volunteer who has lived here for roughly 18 months, native Ugandans, Government health workers and fellow volunteers, it seems clear that the best way to give is in a way that there is a possibility your gift will go towards sustainability. I hope with the donation from my family and friends, I have helped a woman get the support she needed to get herself in a position to earn an income and now it is up to her to continue. Of course, following-up and making sure she is saving some of her profit for future purchases of supplies is important and I intend to help monitor that on a weekly basis while I am here (and of course buy some of the product!)
I will keep you updated on what happens but regardless, you should know when receiving her new stove, table, etc. she became so overwhelmed she started to cry. In a culture where emotions are not always readily shared especially with non-family members (unless you are 3 year old Debbie, my boss' daughter going for a world record for sobbing) this woman likely had one of the most hopeful and wonderful days of her life!