Today Lori and I traveled to Kampala to meet with Yusto, who runs ORM, Orphans Rescue Ministry, in Makindye. For those of you who followed this summer, you will remember that this requires going into the dreaded taxi park, link. Well, I am happy to report that we both made it out without any broken bones…only a sticky hand on my part…..after a man cutting a pineapple grabbed it and told me, “Muzungu, I love you!”. Ha! We sat with Yusto and got caught up on the changes that have happened since the summer, and made decisions about the coming months and this summer’s work.
Although they have continued to have some set-backs, ORM has recruited a girl named Noredah, who has 2 years of experience making sweaters and has brought her own machine to teach the kids. I must admit, it was FASCINATING to watch. I have only seen this machine once before, but just walking by in the market. Basically, there are needles that run along the base of the machine. Once it is set up, she pushed the little knobs on the top, which dropped the needles into various patterns, creating whatever type of pattern she wants in the sweater. The little car thing is pushed back and forth across, and the yarn loops around the needles. The machine even keeps count of the rows, so you can make it exactly the length needed. You make the back, fronts, sleeves, collars, etc. separately, then sew them together on the seams. Here are some pictures. Joseph is a smart senior 4 level student who we met this summer. He was around this afternoon because he scored so high in school this year that he is able to progress to an advanced school, which starts next week. It was so good to see him. He told me, as he laughed, that this summer he would sit at the machine and run it into the ground without control, but since then he has mastered it. I remember that. We were all shocked at how the kids would just sit without any idea what they were doing, and run the machines like madmen…damaging them in the process. We spent the entire week reinforcing the basic steps of setting-up and caring for the machines. They, being teens, were certainly annoyed, but when Joseph sat at the machine today, it was awesome to see him in complete control…calm, cool, collected. Shannon, Rachel, Courtney, you will be so happy to know our work has paid off and that his seam was straight and even. He was so proud and felt so good showing me. This may seem simple, but it is HUGE in teaching the students to do quality work, and in protecting the machines, their most valuable asset.
Sarapio has also been hired by ORM to take over the sewing/tailoring course. He has 23 years of experience and is currently filling an order for school uniforms that Yusto was able to secure. The order consists of 35 skirts and 42 pairs of boys shorts. He had a pile of each finished. Although his English is very little, he seems like a hard-working man and very skilled. He joined ORM only on February 1st, so I am anxious to see how his classes go from now until July.
It was an exhausting, but fruitful day.
Written by Tara Hawks, Fount of Mercy's Vocational Development Director