“It is my talent,” explains the church praise and worship leader, when describing her passion for music.
Annette has led the singing at The Mustard Seed church in the Namatala slum for the past 15 years. The church can’t afford instruments, so Annette and the other leaders clap their hands to different beats to replicate the sound of a band.
When not singing in front of a congregation, Annette tries to earn money for her children, working as a tailor. She was given a used sewing machine from missionaries a few years ago, and makes beautiful, traditional Ugandan clothes.
Since new clothes are a luxury few can afford in Namatala, Annette does not make a livable wage through her sewing. Therefore, she also sells mangoes and a few vegetables in front of her house on a wooden bench she constructed. Through her tailoring and small vegetable sales she is able to earn about 900 Ugandan Shillings per day (about $.36).
Annette’s mother came to Namatala looking for work to support Annette and her six siblings after Annette’s father left the family. Educated as a nurse, she was able to find work at the Mbale Regional Hospital where she still works today. She was also able to build a small mud home in Namatala, and this is where Annette still lives with her children. Elizabeth is neighbors to Annette, and lives with her children in a small room beside Annette’s home.
Annette is a single mother that values education and works diligently so that she can pay school fees to send her children to school. Due to lack of funds, Annette had to drop out of school at P2, a fourth grade level, but she hopes her children can finish their education so they can obtain jobs later in life.
Left by her father and then her husband after seven years of an abusive marriage, Annette emphatically stated, “I don’t want nothing more to do with men.” Now she focuses solely on providing for her children. Her hopes for them are that they will “study, get good jobs, and help each other in the future.”
She hopes the sales from her beads will provide her with the capital to start a business selling rice flour.