Immaculate hasn't changed much - I'm used to seeing her in her ancestral village and thus wearing traditional dress with her hair natural and cut short (in contrast to the woven braids worn by many Ugandan city women). We met at Mokka in Kampala (something of a central hangout for us), where she recognized me immediately. Now Immaculate was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, with her hair grown out to her chin and her daughter - Angel - in tow.

"You look good!" she exclaimed. That was heartening to hear - if you can count on your Ugandan friends for one thing, it's to tell the truth. If they're telling you that you've 'fattened', they're really not trying to hurt your feelings, it's just that you've fattened. An observation, not a compliment or an insult. It always strikes me how much less Ugandans attach their appearance to their self-worth in comparison to many Westerners.

Over coffee (for Elizabeth and me) and mango juice (for Immaculate and Angel), we discussed our upcoming plans. Immaculate is taking the next few weeks off of her post at the microfinance support centre to host Elizabeth, Rebecca, my sister Anna (who had been interning in Kenya and will be joining us for the Empower U project starting today) and me at her ancestral home in the village. Together we will evaluate current beneficiaries' projects: did they return to school? Are they members of microfinance institutions? Did they pass on an offspring to a new beneficiary? 

We will also invest in new beneficiaries, mostly at the discretion of the local Ugandan board and of Immaculate.

First we are travelling with Immaculate to Fort Portal in western Uganda, where we will plan out our project and shadow some of her work with the Microfinance Support Centre Limited

- Jen
oxana serdetchnaia
7/24/2011 06:11:57 pm

Jen, Anna hi my beautiful girls:)
I am glad that you together. Stay safe there. Love you, miss you.
Ann, Jen, please, email me sometimes.
I am only your mom.

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Invisible Hand
7/25/2011 09:19:55 am

On the other hand non profit model may not be sustainable.
Especially on the funds raising end. Everybody involved shall have economic interest. People with money, people with ideas and people who get investments. But again. Well thought.

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oxana
7/25/2011 10:13:49 am

Jen, happy birsday to Anna, and, please, let her to check her email.

Love you girls:)

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Invisible Hand
7/25/2011 02:01:04 pm

I read in your story section that you plan to take care of pigs to stay healthy. I do not think you shall go so far. Let people take their responsibility and initiative. At the end of the day to keep pigs healthy the beneficiaries can get organazed into cooperatives.
As to interns recruiting. I think you shall find economic interest for everybody involved. At least interns shall be able to pay their expenses. If you achieve that I believe you will have competition among applicants.

Good luck, guys

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    Elizabeth, Rebecca and Jen

    The three of us are spending July and August on the Empower U project in Kumi, Uganda. We will be recording our (mis)adventures here.

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