Thursday Nov 15

By Wes Miller – SowHope Board Member

Before writing this blog, I looked up the literacy rate in Uganda.  It turns out that as of 2002, less than 60% of women could read and write.

I find statistics to be helpful because they give me a sense of the state of a situation.  Without accompanying stories, however, statistics can lack recognition of our shared humanity.  The story of Klementina helps me to see the humanity in literacy statistics.

We had set aside the afternoon for home visits. Having successfully traversed the rutted and muddy roads of rural Uganda for several hours, we had already managed to meet with about six women.  We listened to the stories of how they were able to utilize SowHope’s microloans to increase and diversify their household’s income and the positive change that this meant for their families. 

Klementina’s microloan success was similar to others’ stories.  Her determination and hope for a better life for herself and her children was truly inspiring, but Klementina’s story included something else.

Klementina led us away from her farm, back to the road where she proudly showed us her grazing goats.  As we stood in the road and continued to talk, we discovered that we had a tough time pronouncing her son’s name.  Klementina looked to Melissa’s notebook expectantly.  Melissa encouragingly handed her notebook and pen to Klementina.  She began to write her name, and then went on to the next line to write down her son’s name.

Isaac, one of the local leaders that SowHope partners with in Uganda, explained that Klementina participates in the literacy project that SowHope supports.  I asked her if she was able to write her name before the class.  Hearing that she had not known how, I asked her how it made her feel that she could now write her own name.  To our surprise Klementina broke out in the most joyous dance that I had ever witnessed and all of us joined in the moment with smile and laughter. 

I thank Klementina for allowing me to see the humanity that is inherent in a literacy statistic.   It is more than a number; it is an invitation to support accomplishments worthy of joyful dancing.

Photo – Wes interviews Klementina’s literacy teacher, Annette.

Photo by: Mary Dailey Brown

Source: Sow Hope