On Friday, July 4th, I was greeted by Barbara with, “Oh Sarah, you look so smart! Why are you so dressed up?” Smart means well-dressed, not intelligent FYI.
I explained to the girls that the 4th of July was our independence day in the U.S. and so I had to show my pride by rockin’ red, white, and blue attire (complete w/ earrings made by Emberarts a jewelry company based in Uganda, check them out at http://emberarts.com). After I explained the importance of the day to me, the girls were unbelievably sweet and exclaimed that I should NOT be working on my independence day. They seemed shocked that I am from a country that has been independent for 238 years while Uganda has only been independent for 52 year. So, props to the USA for being independent for so long. Uganda keep fighting for it!
Friday I was lucky to have Claire (the fashion designer) meet with the girls to teach them how to create her dresses. Sandra and Barbara were so excited to have a fashion designer take the time to show them. I felt like a proud mamma watching Barbara and Sandra hang onto every word that Claire said and asking questions to improve their sewing skills. Claire and I then took a trip to a busy fabric market in town so I could purchase a seam ripper for our workshop.
While Friday was America’s independence, our celebrating happened on Saturday afternoon.
I woke up early to head to Mengo to work with our seamstress to teach the girls how to cut patterns correctly. Then I caught a boda home to change into “American attire” for the Jort’s of July party.
Above we have me with my two American housemates. Mary rocked a D.A.R.E. shirt and Emily found a Boy Scouts uniform at Owino (a chaotic market with basically ANYTHING you could possibly want). Coming home from the party I crawled into bed with thoughts of the tasks I was going to complete on Sunday.
Waking up on Sunday the power was out. By 10:30am my phone had died, my computer had died, the lights wouldn't turn on, and all my big plans that I had thought of the previous night went out the window. You can't really contact the bank, return emails, write a blog post, post articles on twitter, research tips for running a non-profit, and talk to my partner at Acacia Avenue Designs that lives in South Africa when all of your electronics are dead and the power has decided to remain off until 8pm.
So, even though NOTHING was going as planned I got some solid thinking time in. Thankfully, the house I have moved to has a collection of books that previous ex-pats have left behind. I finished reading "Half the Sky" and started "The Blue Sweater". Both of these books (that I would highly recommend) discuss grassroots efforts, non-profits, and a personal approach to bettering the world and providing opportunities to women.
One of the things I have learned since relocating to Uganda is that to do your best, you have to be willing to change your plans at a moments notice. There is no point in becoming frustrated and rushing around attempting to find that ONE place that the power wasn't out. Instead take a step back figure out what other tasks need to be completed that are not in need of power and go with that.
Every day that I am with Sandra and Barbara I am reminded of why Meg started this company and why I am here. Seeing the progress they make day-to-day makes everything else worth it. From cutting patterns, to getting advice from an extraordinary fashion designer, to going over budgets, to seeing the girls get excited that they will have bank accounts, to learning a marketable skill, and having the opportunity to attend vocational school. All of those joyous occasions make lack of electricity for a day worth it.
Don’t get me wrong though, I literally jumped for joy when the power did come back on, immediately started charging my electronics, and took a picture of the light in my room, as seen below!
I hope everyone that reads this can understand my joy for working power and internet!
If you have some additional time check out our needs section of the website to see what we provide/need help providing to our girls! You can click this fancy hyperlink to get there:) http://acaciaavenue.org/shop/
Donate, shar, spread gender equality, like, do what YOU can do. We appreciate you, and thanks so much for checking out the 3rd blog post.