Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sewing Machines for Life in Africa

The road between Nakasero and the taxi park hosts a building across from the red veranda – meaning, when exiting the building with sewing machines you can see the red veranda – a building with a small MTN booth blocking the stairs, the one where you can see bicycles way down at the bottom. This is how I find the sewing machine lady named Ritah. I’ve discovered only one way to somehow find the same location multiple times, a location not frequently visited, and that is to remember every detail about the surrounding area. The problem is that, alone, any one of these descriptors point to dozens of buildings in Kampala. The trick is to remember them all together – it’s like a puzzle.

Down, down, down into the tri-depth of sub-Kampala there’s a small sewing machine reseller who has been faithfully providing machines for Surprised by Hope. Yes, I can find machines all over Kampala but Ritah has become a friend. Last purchase, Ritah was off having a baby so when my white face peeked in the doorway this time she almost jumped up and down. Her adorable baby boy had been up on street level with his nanny but was ushered to my lap almost immediately.

Two Japanese machines and their stands were selected and prepared while we waited for Charlie – who, following my description of the location – was challenged to find us. Charlie would be responsible for transporting these monsters to his home where the students are learning to sew. He’ll store them in his door-less home each afternoon following the teaching. The real challenge will be finding a level place to set up the machines given that his house is on the side of a steep hill. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.