Tuesday, 19 May 2009


KJT took me to another tournament on Sunday, which they did very well in, but later in the day I decided to take a trip to Kireka, where there is a Life in Africa beadmaking project, run by NED-gurus Evvy Brynning, Grace Ayaa and Peter Ndelo.

I met Evvy at the Red Chilli Hideaway with Fred Kayiwa from KJT. We chatted into a late night and I forced a KitKat on Kayiwa, determined to give him a chance to experience some of the joys of European living! Evvy talked about the potential in here new work with a Craft Supplier, one which seemed to really understand some of the challenges faced by small producers in scaling up for regular production.

Next morning, leaving my plug-free room at the Red Chilli, we drove up to the Women of Kireka project. Not all the women were there, but they arrived pretty soon after and were working directly to specific orders - this is how it should be! I learned that beads were made from scrap paper and rolled up. I also learned that this was a specific Acholi skill that was common amongst this "tribe".

Peter was taking Maria, a Swedish student up to the Acholi encampment and I followed. The Acholi had been displaced in the war in the North and this area, just a few miles north of Kampala had been chosen for their new home. There was a quarry, where they tapped on stones to make building materials for their homes, but, other than that there seemed little available that could be used to create any kind of living.

Negative thinking, however, did not get anyone anywhere and the people had created a kind of microcosm of a larger community, with land buying, quarry plots and play areas. The school was pristine, but not a government school, so fees were payable and thus some excluded. Even unboiled water was sold at around 2p/bottle and people had to pay to use the latrines.

As we entered rubbish was strewn everywhere, but we found that this was at least an attempt to keep the place clean and free from vermin. Longhorned cows wandered amongst the rubbish.

In the encampment kids were curious about us, talking to us and following us through the narrow pathways. Most were very dusty and dirty, with ragged clothes and a stressed expression. Some boys were playing a game with bottle tops, which involved collecting and something like marbles in terms of gameplay.

There was a lot of hardship there, but a finite problem to be solved. The Women of Kireka project with some expansion could end up providing work for all of the women in the community.

Whilst supporting such enterprises through funding, may damage the prospects of traditional business, why is traditional business so revered, when it tends towards buy low sell high? Why should self-interest be protected at the expense of altruism?

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