Flying from Accra to Kampala, we traveled through … Dubai!
Our options for this segment were not ideal, since there are no direct flights. The four options were: spending the night in the Nairobi airport for a 4 am departure (hmm… not so good); spending the night in the Lagos airport (ugh!); traveling through Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) with a long middle of the night layover (again… not so attractive); or flying a bit further on Emirates with a three hour 6 – 9 am stop in Dubai. As all the choices were the same price, we opted for the Dubai route.
When we landed in Kampala, we were met by a driver who took us to Jinja, a bustling town on Lake Victoria. This is where the Nile River starts its long journey. We checked into our peaceful guesthouse and crashed.
The next morning, we set up shop! With the help of a local Rastafarian guy (“Rasta Man”), we set up the printer we purchased for our team and began testing the printing of the paper in school colors.
We met with Gerald, our “on-the-ground supervisor” and mapped out our strategy for the week.
First stop was the bustling printing section of Kampala. Here we met with a print broker and produced some excellent digital print samples. Color matching is one of the key challenges in the RahRah4Good business model.
We took these samples back to the Walakuba village, where the ladies who manage our bead-making cooperative were looking forward to the challenge of our project. They carefully made sample beads out of each test sheet, and we discussed the modifications needed to make each bead even more attractive. The paper bead making process is quite an art. The ladies know just how to cut the strips and roll them to make the desired outcome.
We discussed the various designs of the beads and selected the optimum line of jewelry for our initial run. Ed and Betty worked together on the PhotoShop files with print patterns that will create interesting beads
The ladies were lovely and very enthusiastic. These five gals each oversee a group of 10 ladies who will do our production as business grows.
To supplement our custom-printed paper, we took a trip to the recycled paper market in Kampala. Here we tried to find correct colors that are close to the colors of our target universities. We ended up leaving with about 100 pounds of recycled paper, typically overruns of corporate or governmental brochures.
Our 10 days in Uganda (7 in Jinja and 3 in Kampala) went by quickly. We were very pleased with the relationships we developed and the progress we made on RahRah4Good. The ladies created six samples of each item in each color and then they shipped them in a bag on a bus to Kigali (where we picked them up at the bus station!)
We are very pleased with the results.