PRAYER MOUNTAIN

Prayer Mountain might sound like the mythical destination in, but it’s actually a real place in Mbale where Elizabeth spends her Saturday nights. Every Saturday around four o’clock, after working at her vegetable stand all day, Elizabeth ventures to the mountain by taxi.

Ugandans go to the mountain and the grassy field atop it to pray for their futures, struggles and sins.

“We share experiences, we encourage each other, everybody brings their experiences and we give advice and we pray for each other, that’s what I do.”

Other members of Elizabeth’s church in Namatala attend as well. Although Elizabeth has only prayed with other Christians, she said that any religion or church is welcome on Prayer Mountain.

“It is where I go to relax and talk to my God and thank him,” Elizabeth says. “Young, old, they take there their problems and they speak to God.”

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DREAMS OF BUYING LAND: REALIZED

Elizabeth’s business continues to boom after another year in the 1000 Shillings program. Her vegetable stand boasts a wide array of goods, making her stall competitive among the crowded lanes of the Namatala market. In addition to a selection of greens, tomatoes, onions, avocadoes and eggplants, Elizabeth added canvas sacks of posho, cassava and maize, which she sells by the kilogram.

Not only does she sell the cassava and maize, but she also grows it herself. With the revenues from her business Elizabeth bought land in Doko, a rural region on the outskirts of Mbale. By farming and harvesting her own produce, Elizabeth makes a higher profit and can therefore save more money.

“I went there to Doko and I got some land. I used to dig (rent land from another farmer), now I planted my own cassava,” Elizabeth says proudly.

Elizabeth has grown her business considerably since starting two years ago with just greens and tomatoes available at her stand. Elizabeth, always ambitious, aspires to expand her stock even more with soap, soybeans, salt and sacks of beans.

“Now my business has grown up, it is somehow good,” Elizabeth says.

SAVINGS

Although she eventually hopes to build her own house so she no longer has to rent, Elizabeth’s first priority is putting her children through school. She began saving money at the beginning of the 1000 Shilling program, three years ago, to ensure she will be able to pay expensive school fees for her children.  
When asked about how her lifestyle has changed, Elizabeth simply says that her family is able to eat better and afford school fees. She prioritizes saving over buying new clothes and items for her house. The success of her business has enabled her to create a financial safety net in the event of a crisis

 “[1000 Shillings] are the ones who taught us to save money,” Elizabeth said. “If you get a problem in your business, you go to your savings and you add onto your business.”

Elizabeth works at her stand in the Namatala market. 

Elizabeth works at her stand in the Namatala market. 

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