Harriet Kisakye: I thank God for TD-1 in 2016 which helped us to discover the four relationships in detail and how they are connected. After TD-1, we started running mini-workshops with the church members, which helped us to consider several things and how to develop ourselves. Since we were doing the mini-workshops as a church, they resulted in the birthing of a piggery project that is two-and-a-half years old. I was project lead in the first year and another member of the church led the project in the second year. This project has generated income that has been used in supporting the church. I bless the Lord for that and that it is run by the members.
After attending TD-2 in January 2018 in Mukono, we run and mobilised more mini-workshops, but this time, with members of the community and not just from church. We ran the mini-workshops in groups just as is done in the TD workshop. The attendees generated ideas on how to grow our community while considering the four relationships. The members identified one of the problems in the community as drought and the misconception that the Chinese who grew rice in the nearby community were responsible for the drought. When we asked them what could be done, they suggested that trees should be planted. At that time, we also did not have trees on our church premises. Although they were not born again, they challenged us to plant trees starting with the church compound. After discussion, we agreed that the church would plant trees on its premises as well as in their individual homes in Lubumba. The challenge we faced was that we took on the project as a church and gave funds to one of the members present (who claimed he would acquire quality seedlings cheaply) to purchase the seedlings but ran away from the community. Since some of the members of the community were not born again, they were discouraged by that and left and stopped attending our mini-workshops. As the vision bearers, we proceeded with the tree planting initiative in the Eagle’s Wings Children’s Village premises.
We also thank God for VSLA (Village Savings and Loans Association) groups that started after the first TD-1. We worked hand-in-hand with the VSLA Facilitator who supervised the activities of the groups. As a couple, we thank God for VSLA because they aided us so much in acquiring land that we now call home. Both my husband and I were salaried workers heavily relying on the monthly salaries to meet all our needs. We were not saving yet we had a big family to support. My family was ridiculed that we were not developing yet we were working for whites. When the VSLA started, we started to painfully save. We started with one plot and then would borrow and buy plots adjacent to the existing ones, which now measure one acre. We decided to make two brick piles from our first plot. This motivated us to start building our house and God enabled us to move out of rental housing into our own house.
Charles Wasswa: I am glad that when TD-1 was held here in 2016, I had just graduated as a Veterinary Doctor. At the end of the workshop, my church decided to start a piggery project which is still running to date. As an individual, more so as a Veterinary Doctor, I registered in my mind to begin my own piggery project. So I left the community but returned after some time. On returning, I had no source of income. When I got some money, I purchased veterinary equipment which gave me income to meet my daily needs. When someone gave me a cash gift, my first thought was to begin a piggery project, since the idea was birthed from TD-1. I rented a small house from a person who was raring only one pig. I divided it into four compartments and started with four piglets. When the time to get married approached, I sold off the then-grown pigs and was able to buy critical household items. I started the project with UGX 250,000 and after six months, I got UGX 1 million. Then I topped up on the balance and started another piggery project. This second project enabled me to successfully do our introduction (cultural wedding) ceremony. I thus want to do another bigger project as I am not about to leave piggery. I plan to do a model farm. While I used to look for job opportunities, after TD, I gained confidence that I would not be poor anywhere I go, that I can grow a farm with just one piglet.
As a result of TD, we formed a VSLA group called Love in Action. I thank God for such a VSLA that is at a village level of income because, on my wedding eve at 8:00 pm, our committee chair informed me that everything was in place except for funds for sauce for the guests (the introduction ceremony was done the day before the church wedding). At this point, my close pals and I had run out of funds and I decided to consult with VSLA Chair who was also with me at the introduction ceremony to get the money that night. Had it been the bank where I had to sign several loan papers and wait, I would not have managed. But I got money that very night from the VSLA and handed it over to the committee Chair and got relieved. The beauty with VSLA is that it is not as pressurizing in repayment as the bank. Unlike some workshops that train people how to use others to get what you want, in TD we start initiatives (income-generating or otherwise) starting with the relationship with God, beginning with available resources, and how to involve others instead of taking advantage of them, resulting into holistic change.