bush uganda

Have you ever been in the middle of nowhere? I don’t mean the middle of nowhere like we usually say it here in the States. I just said it to someone on the phone last night, as we were trying to set up some remote radio equipment in our house. When he asked about wifi passwords and firewalls, I said, “Oh no, we live in the middle of nowhere. We don’t worry about that.”

I live outside of a small coastal town. It takes me 15 minutes to get to the “okay” grocery, 30 minutes to get to Walmart or the “good” grocery, and 45 minutes to get to Target. Our hospital has a less than sterling reputation; we have to go 45 min to a somewhat better one, and almost an hour and a half to a university teaching hospital. We have farms all around us, so I get fresh produce from a stand 2 miles away; farm raised eggs from multiple nearby families; and farm raised beef, lamb, rabbit, pork, turkey, chicken (you get the idea) delivered to me once a month from a farm somewhat inland that does a “coastal” run. I can be in the “big city” in less than 3 hours, including at an international airport. There I can find all the stores of my dreams (which happen to be Trader Joes, Costco, and a Super Target), go to a NHL game, see games by the two greatest rivals in college basketball (Duke vs UNC), catch a traveling Broadway production, or see my favorite band.

Objectively, then, I am not actually IN the middle of nowhere, however much it sometimes feels like it.

I have found the middle of nowhere, though… And it’s in Uganda! While everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – in Uganda has a cell phone, and cell signal is excellent, other communication is sorely lacking.

Case in point. I communicate with everyone I work with there by email. (Sometimes I text, but the return text cost can be prohibitive, so I reserve that for emergencies.) Because of the power and internet problems in Uganda, I never know if my emails get there, or how long they take to get there. Everyone I’m emailing has to either go somewhere (besides their home or work) to get internet, and they don’t do that daily. Or weekly. So when I email and say, “We don’t need anymore of X product right now,” well. We have a lot more of X product by the time someone sees the email!

woman sewing uganda

When the power lines stop 7 kilometers from the village… ? We have to go through intermediaries, and it can take awhile to get instructions passed on.

Long story short? Sometimes we make tweaks to the products and production, but the tweaks may take a little while to trickle down!

Frustrating? Yeah, a little. But to see these smiles? Worth every bit of it!

The Ndoto Project employs 9 widows living with HIV/AIDS. We are proud to provide them a regular salary and work they can be proud of doing. Thank you for your support – we hope you’ll share the Ndoto Collection with your friends and family! And remember, you’re also supporting the work of Ten Eighteen Inc. in Uganda, furthering your “giving back” and helping many more people in need.