Trish Hartman, a board member of Thrive Uganda, shares her experiences visiting our programs in Uganda:
"I want to tell more about our visits to the villages. Sometimes we travelled down the winding washed-out roads that gradually just become a path in the woods. Often we were greeted by music and feasts the people put on for us. At first I hesitated to eat the food, for that was taking from those who have so little. I came, however, to understand that this is their way of repaying us, of showing their independence and dignity. The peanuts, mangoes, local meat and other offerings were particularly delicious.
Group members told their stories of how they were able to borrow money to buy land and seeds, to grow enough food for their families, despite the difficulties with the extended dry season, and they were optimistic that with rain coming soon, they would be able to grow extra to sell. Naluyima Sharon told her story,
“I thank Thrive so much. We used to rent. One day our landlord chased us away from his house. I came to the [Caregivers’ Group] and I took up a loan and we bought a plot. My husband almost stopped me from joining this group, but as I talk now he has realized the impact it has had on our family and he is also about to join. One day the authorities came and arrested us because we had no latrine so my husband felt bitter about the group….but now, when Thrive came and constructed our pit latrine my husband has doubled his joy for Thrive. Now we have our own house, we have our own latrine, we have our own land and no landlord can come to chase us away.”
Other members fixed their houses, paid school fees, helped extended family, or bought animals to raise.
“I thank Joseph and Paul (program staff). They came and brought iron sheets and helped us construct our pit latrine. Through the loans I took from the group I have some chickens that I rear at home and I have also invested money in the gardens to acquire adequate food for the family. So we now, through the loans, we grow sweet potatoes at a large scale. But because of the drought that has hit our village we have not been able harvest so much, but still we are investing. We thank Thrive so much for what it has done.” -Namirembe Sarah
The soil of the Kalangu region is very fertile, and everywhere there were coffee plants and mango and avocado trees growing abundantly where the pits fell.
Some villages are close to the road, and so they have been able to take loans to start roadside stalls to sell fruits and vegetables, or to start small stores, or businesses. One woman in her sixties glowed with pride as she showed that she had borrowed money to build a tailoring business, and she has placed a manual sewing machine on the porch of her tiny house, watching the children at play while she sews. I imagine it is something she has always dreamed of doing, and now her dream is a reality.