Uganda: New Recruits

My first few weeks at St. Denis have gone well and it is wonderful to see the posho mill up and running and thriving. Talented St Denis student Ndalike, in S4, was recruited to produce a sign for the business and it looks fantastic:

In its first month, the mill took a whopping 2.5million shillings in income. The expenses have totalled around 1.4million, 600,000 of which was the electricity bill. With the money banked in the first month we have been able to cover this comfortably, although the electricity company weren’t convinced we would – they sent somebody round to cut off the power just a few days after we received the bill! Umar was able to persuade them to go away and Mukasa James was sent to the bank with much urgency to get it paid. We were thrilled to win the Teach A Man to Fish income competition with a prize of $250 as, thanks to the mill, St Denis revenue has increased by 803% in the last three months! We will be thinking very carefully about what to put the money towards.

The new Headmistress, Lucia, is a lovely lady and very committed to the self-sufficiency project. She is keen to find ways to increase the revenue from the businesses, and at the end-of-term staff meeting she reminded staff how important their support is to the school businesses. In particular, she was persuading the staff to pay off their debts to the school canteen as the cash is really needed for us to expand the business.

Another new recruit is Laurence the cattle keeper. Laurence has spent time in the Ugandan Army and upon his return found his land had been sold by his siblings who believed him dead. Laurence and his wife have two children of their own, but also look after his brother’s four children, who were orphaned to HIV/AIDS. Laurence is very committed to his job and has a good relationship with the HM.

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