When I left Uganda last year, I had the glimmer of an idea about wanting to support the women farmers of Kobulubulu. But one thing I knew for sure: I am not a loner. I do my best work when it is not just a solo effort, but a collaborative one. And this enterprise, most fortunately, from its earliest days, has had the enthusiastic competence and superlative dedication of one Lindsey Holaday.
Some friends of mine think Lindsey is someone I’ve known for years. But no. This is an example of someone responding to an idea that connects deeply with something they care about. And they simply say, “yes.” We met at a dinner party held by a mutual friend, and I was talking about my ideas. And, my need to have others join with me if the project was to get off the ground. Lindsey said, “I’ll help you.” And indeed she has. We adopted the local Panera as our “home office” and met weekly to plan and discuss and encourage one another in the birthing of KRMA-U.S. Partners, Ltd. The project’s good fortune is that Lindsey is someone with tremendous talents and great experience. She is accompanying me to Uganda. And I want to share with you why. Why, when she has never met these women who have so affected me, would she forego a vacation to an exotic location to travel with me to a place with no running water or electricity, to talk about growing cassava? Here is her answer:
“For me, the trip to Kobulubulu is an echo from my past as well as a vision of the future. I lived in Tanzania for a few years in the early 1970’s and instantly fell under the spell of Africa, as so many people do. While I traveled a good deal in Tanzania and Kenya, Uganda was ruled by Idi Amin and the country was unsettled enough to dissuade me from visiting there.
When I met Lois I was eager to become involved in the project and excited about going at last to Uganda, the “Pearl of Africa”, to meet the women of KRMA.
I am confident in the business model we have developed. It is based on principles of self-discipline, perseverance and long-term goal-setting, which the women of KRMA have already amply demonstrated.
At a more emotional level, I am inspired by the women we are working with. They have established a sense of community and mutual encouragement that allows them to help each other succeed individually – as family members do for each other – while maintaining a group ethos.
I have a lot to learn from them.”
Thanks to Lindsey for sharing. All I want to add is another quote from Lindsey in a letter I asked her to write about herself to the women of KRMA before I realized that she would be able to come with me:
“My great aunt, my grandmother, my aunts and my mother were all involved in helping women get the vote and gain other rights in this country. So I was brought up to believe it is our responsibility to help each other (other women) improve our lives however we can. I know that we will learn a great deal from one another.
I still remember a little Kiswahili so I will finish like this. This is something my Tanzanaian friend would often say to me and is perhaps a good motto for KRMA-U.S. Partners:
haba na haba, kujaza kababa”
Signing off from gambolinggrace until I next have internet, I’ll leave it to you, the readers of this blog, to find out what that particular phrase used by my colleague Lindsey Holaday means. Thank you all for supporting me and Lindsey in spirit as we board the plane for Uganda!