After being in Uganda for a few months and journaling for Kiva, September seems like years ago. Everything was so unfamiliar and I felt like the world I entered was insane. Yet, now I am used to the traffic, the city, the wonderful people, and the smells. J
My experience with Life In Africa has been truly eye-opening to the plight of those living in an IDP camp and those trying survive in the city. Each person I journal about has a unique challenge they are dealing with, or dealt with, along with a success story that may not have occurred without the start up capital from Kiva. It’s so fascinating to hear their stories before the loan, especially those who had no prior income, and then to hear how it affected their life and their families. Many of the borrowers explain that they have struggled with school fees and the loan helped them have sustainable income to send their children to school consistently; a priority that everyone has conveyed to me. Most of the borrowers I interview are women and their strength amazes me. Some of them widows, others my age and dealing with such hardships, and some who are the bread winners while their husbands just sit with their friends all day. Each woman has a fighting spirit and wants to provide for her family. At times the stories are hard and loans have not always been the answer to their challenges, but even if the business failed they have shown the remarkable ability to persevere through the situation they face.
Some of the most interesting interviews have been with those whose first business never took off or failed for various reasons because these borrowers had to adjust and rethink their business plan. Those who had to change really scrutinized their next business to ensure it would be profitable. Most of them have done tremendously well with their next business and proves “that if at first you don’t succeed you must try again.” Their tenacity to keep going and make a business succeed is inspiring to me. Those whose business did not succeed and they were not able to move forward were just as inspiring to me because most of them faced a challenge in life that was unbelievably staggering. In a country where life can be so cruel and adversity is prevalent, I have met people who are optimistic and hopeful that life can get better. I look forward for the rest of my time in Kampala./>