Santa's education ended when she was in primary two. Her father died and her mother left and remarried. Often in Uganda, when a woman remarries, she must leave behind her children since the new husband often doesn’t want to undertake the burden of caring for children that are not his own. Santa and her two brothers stayed in the care of her aunt. Santa was required to care for her young cousins and to look after the family’s cattle.
As Santa grew up, she married her first husband and had one child. Her husband was killed by the rebels as the civil war raged in the North. She met and married her second husband and they relocated to Kampala to escape the violence. They had six children.
Her husband first worked in a hotel in Kampala and later found work as a security guard. Although he contributes to the family, he has a second wife, so much of the burden falls on Santa.
To support the family, she purchases produce from the North, sometimes traveling herself to fetch it, other times relying on family to send it by bus. She has a small storefront by her home where she sells it. During April, May and June, she travels to the North where she has a small plot of land where she grows peas, simsim, ground nuts and cassava, food staples which she can also sell when she returns to Kampala.
With greater capital Santa would hire farmhands to help her produce more food from her plot. She hopes one day to build a home and return to the North where life is easier.
The eldest child, Margaret did not attend school. Her parents had a contemptuous relationship and, feeling threatened, her mother fled the marriage. At a young age, Margaret bore the responsibility of caring for her disabled father and her two younger siblings. She’d work in the stone quarry to earn money for rent and food. She relied on her two hands and the generosity of neighbors to survive.
At 15, she married and they have five children. He works in construction to contribute to the family’s needs. Margaret has a small storefront in front of her home where she sells dried silver fish and vegetables.
When Covid hit and businesses shutdown, leaving men at home with now work to do, she started another business selling alcohol and found eager customers. She travels to Jinja, a city about an hour and a half bus ride from Kampala and purchases two types of local alcohol, kiralira and kasese. The alcohol can’t be found in Kampala, so she is able to earn steady money by having a specialty item to sell. Unsurprisingly, the business has continued to do well.
With more capital, she’d expand both businesses by purchasing products in bulk to save money on transport.