Sunday, 24 February 2008

Down to business.

Everyone, this is Eva. Eva has three children, Trevor (8), Trisha (5) and Terry (1 and a half.) Eva works in 'our' house, and has done for 6 years. She's seen us Medair types come and go. She cooks, cleans, looks after my kids, and has become totally indispensable within a matter of weeks.

She's also a very talented seamstress and can make anything you ask her. But this is the scandalous part - she's stuck being a cleaner because in Uganda, any old job is worth holding on to because even rubbish jobs are for the lucky few. Eva is the only breadwinner in her family (and here supporting the extended family is the norm), she travels an hour and a half to work (one way), leaving well before the sun comes up.

So here's my idea. I want Eva to make pretty little girls' dresses that I can sell to people back home. I am thinking of smart, sweet, playful designs, but not ethnic. Think Boden catalogue, not safari scenes. As they get made, I will post photos of them, either here, or I'll give Eva her own flickr site. If you like what you see, give me an email with your darling's measurements and we'll take it from there.

The big vision is this: a team of tailors, processing regular orders from the UK and beyond, not just dresses either. Apprenticeship posts for the Jordan House kids, some of whom are reaching school leaving age and need a trade. All managed by Ugandans, leaving me to do the UK sales and marketing side of things from home when we go back. The profits will go straight to the tailors, with some left over to grow the business. All the cash risk will be ours, and we don't expect (personally) to make any money from it.

What's in it for you? Well, a pretty frock for starters, and a warm glow that your money is making a huge difference to someone's life. One £25 dress equals an average monthly rent or a term and a half's school fees here.

Comments most welcome on this one, especially from any entrepreneurial types. (My only business credential is watching Dragon's Den, but perhaps I should keep that quiet.)

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Change the record

Sigh. It's not all delivering-babies-in-bush-hospitals. 80 per cent of the time it's dealing-with-inconvenience. (Did I mention that things can be very inconvenient here?) For example: I have had no internet access for 4 days. This is a bit gutting when broadband is twice as expensive as back home. (Do you remember me saying how expensive it was?) The problem, it turned out, was my rubbish, back-of-a-lorry extension lead had short-circuited the LAN cable. (Did I mention the poor quality electrical products? But notice I used the acronym LAN with convincing authority.)

If it's not t'internet, it's the leaking sewage pipe, dripping sink, faulty immersion heater - the plumber and I are best mates now - did I mention that everything is a bit gerry-built?

I think I did.

I also think being pregnant for a hundred years is making me cranky.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Glorious Gloria turns two!

Yes, it was Glorymouse's birthday on Jan 11th. We had a fantastic party, but unfortunately the photos from it contained too much nudity - hey, we're in the tropics ok? - and I didn't want to end up on a police register.
There was frolicking in the garden. There were loads of other children. There was splashing in the paddling pool (hence the nudity.) And I made a half-decent, unsaggy cake for once, though I did have to sandwich 2 flat halves together to make it a reasonable size. (The moral of this story is: the size of the cake tin does matter.)
Glory got a wodge of lovely presents...and the best present of all she gave us, by deciding to pottytrain herself a week before her birthday. Clever mouse!