It’s the little moments that catch us off guard. In the morning when all the Sseko clad feet come splashing in the door. At tea time when the women are quietly stirring spoonfuls of sugar into their tea. During the day, when the ladies break out into song and dance in the middle of sewing straps or gluing soles.
On a daily basis, the Sseko women are… Friends. Aunties. Coworkers.
But they are also so much more. They are the single mothers who work multiple jobs to provide for their children. They are the widows who have lost their husbands and family members from AIDS. They are the strong, determined, caring, loving, passionate dreamers that girls around the world should look to as most worthy role models. And this is the wise advice they would give to those same girls…
Beatrice… “Since you don’t know what the future is, you should be wise and save your money. You have no responsibility right now for children and a home, so you should not be too concerned with spending all your money. You should save your money because it’s not for yourselves, it is for your children. One by one makes a bundle. If you think too much of money it will ruin your future. You never know what will come tomorrow.”
Vicky… “You should work so hard. It is not easy now so you have to work hard.”
Josephine… “Study, wait for the right time and then do what you want. You should feel free to be who you are. Sometimes girls can be frustrated with themselves but they should love who they are and believe they are important people.”
Harriet… “You should study and work for yourselves instead of asking and begging or doing work like prostitution.”
Aunt Sarah… “Stand on your own feet, and stand up for yourself. It is not good to constantly ask others for money. They will start to be fearful of you and frustrated with you. You have to use any opportunity given to you for a job or to go to school.”
Aunt Florence… “You are still young and need to learn about marriage, how to be a woman and take care of your family. The saying is that the big women should teach young woman how to love their husbands and their children and how to be a wife. They will marry someday so they should learn while they are still young.”
Teopista… “Be confident in yourself and believe that you can do anything. You must have high self esteem so you believe that you can do it. When you believe that you can, you can do anything.”