Hello puppy loves!

How are you today? I've gotten about two thirds of my pictures from Uganda uploaded and organized! The rest I'll be tackling tonight or tomorrow.

My Mom and I went to Uganda with an organization called Opportunity International. OI provides small loans (starting at $25) to local business owners as well as banking services to the general public.

OI has a really interesting structure for their loans. The clients (much better sounding than lendees, right?) form a "trust group" in their neighborhoods or local business areas with other clients. These trust groups work together to support each other emotional and occasionally financially during and after their loan cycles. OI also provides business education to loan clients helping them to be financially literate before and during their loans.

While in Uganda we visited Opportunity International clients homes, businesses, and trust group meetings to learn more about micro-finance and Uganda. If you want to hear more about how exactly this loan structure works I would love to share! Let me know!

It's a great organization that works in 25 countries across the world.

Now, on to the pictures (what you really want to see)!

(A local school in the Uganda capital, Kampala. School tuition is on average $300 per child- one third of the average yearly income. These are P7 students; the American equivalent of 7th graders.)
(This is the Rise and Shine school. Can you see the tall girl on the far left? She's a refuge from Sudan who has been taken in by the school owner, Miss Dorothy. She and I talked for a while. She told me that she thought she was 17. She's currently in P3 with 11 year old classmates and she loves being in school- reading is her favorite thing about school. My few minutes with her were some of the most moving, unforgettable, and heart breaking of my entire trip.)

(This typical "road" led us to Gertrude a client who owns her own catering company.)

(Gertrude makes over 150 lunches each day for employees at The Bank of Uganda. She started by making just 6 lunches a day for her insurance agency. During busy weekends she'll make enough food for 5 weddings with at lest 500 guests EACH!)

(Popcorn! Popcorn! Popcorn!)

(How beautiful is this woman? She's a "professional tailor" as she proudly told us. She's teaching other women how to sew so that they will have a skill. And she's doing it for free.)

(This gorgeous dress is the traditional formal style of married Ugandan women. I desperately wanted one. But I just wasn't brave enough to rock one on the streets of Chicago)

More pictures to come tomorrow. I've been doing a lot of writing and thinking about the world. I'll be sharing soon my loves.

5 comments- my fav!:

S@sha said...

It is amazing how what we consider so little here, $25 or $300, can mean so much in another country. I look forward to reading the upcoming posts.

LBBrady said...

Mo! I was wondering what spurred the trip to Uganda - mystery solved! This is amazing! Can't wait to hear more about it. Finally figured out google reader so I now get daily updates on all of the blogs I follow, which of course, includes yours. Please post more pics!

missris said...

Whoa small world! A very good friend of mine works for Opportunity International! Sounds like you had a fabulous trip. I'm excited to hear more.

Cat said...

What a great sounding concept! Loved reading about your adventures...keep 'em coming :)

Le Sigh of a Fashionista said...

What an opportunity, sweet girl! OI sounds like a wonderful organization and you are so lucky to get to witness their work in action.

PS: Your photography skills are like AMAZING. Seriously, you need to go submit your photos to National Geographic or something. They are beautiful!

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