Big fish. Loy already sells small dried, silver fish to neighbors at her house. However, these fish do not generate much income; instead, Loy wants to use a business grant from 1000 Shillings to start a business selling large dried fish. The large fish can be used to make pasted fish, a traditional Ugandan dish, which combines dried fish with a peanut butter sauce. 

Loy already sells water at her compound, and combined with her future fish business she believes she will be able to cover the cost of school fees for her grandchildren. She sells water to her neighbors for 100 Shillings (approximately 4 cents) a jerrycan from the tap she saved to install at her house. Clean, safe water is not available for free in Namatala, so families have to buy it or risk drinking contaminated water from the nearby river.

Containers holding clean water at Loy's house. 

Containers holding clean water at Loy's house. 

Loy fills a bucket with clean water. 

Loy fills a bucket with clean water. 


A Gomesi is a traditional dress worn by women in Uganda. It is a floor-length, brightly colored cloth dress with a square neckline and short, puffed sleeves. It is tied with a sash, and has two buttons on the left side of the neckline. Normally, Gomesi are made of silk, cotton or linen fabric. Women often wear the Gomesi on special occasions such as funerals and weddings; however, like many elderly women in rural areas Loy wears a Gomesi everyday.

“When you put on a Gomesi, you are a full woman. A Gomesi earns you respect, because a woman who puts on a Gomesi respects herself.” 


“It takes a village to raise a child” is easily demonstrated within the culture of the Namatala slum. Residents will frequently care for the children of their neighbors, siblings or even their own children when circumstances prevent the parents from caring for them.

Loy is currently caring for her 10 grandchildren. Loy, her mother and her 10 grandchildren all live in a two room house in Namatala. She takes care of the children because some of the children are orphaned and the others were left by their father. Loy is hopeful for the children’s futures, and works diligently to ensure they get an education.

“I take care of them because I love them, and I don’t’ want them to stray.”