Thursday, October 6, 2011

Meet Adong Kevin

When you visit the One Mango Tree workshop in Gulu, Adong Kevin is sure to be your language teacher. Her approach for teaching Acholi-as-a-second-language? She continuously speaks to you in Acholi until you get it. I once spent an afternoon cooking chicken and malakwang with Kevin and Prisca. They decided not to speak English with me the entire day - several hours later, I'd figured out how to communicate that 1) no, I wasn't going to break the chicken's neck, and 2) I was really sorry for how bad I was at cooking _______(fill in the blank with any Acholi food item).

Kevin started out with One Mango Tree in the very early days - easily one of Mama Lucy's favorites. She was always on time for work, and after opening the stall doors, her next step was always to crank up the radio. When Julie Carney, Director of Gardens for Health in Rwanda, worked with One Mango Tree for two months, she and Kevin became fast friends - when Kevin's first child was born a couple of years ago, she named her Aber Juliet. She's a strong and sassy little girl, and with a smile just like her mom's. She often spends afternoons chasing Anena Betty's son, Obama, around the compound.

See the rest of the photos from our visit to Kevin's home here.

When promotions came around this summer, Kevin was an obvious choice - she still occasionally stitches handbags, but most of the time you can find her checking the work of the other tailors. She's in charge of quality control, making sure that the women are following guidelines for quality and consistency in their work. Kevin and her husband rent a tukul in Gulu town, but she's saving for land and a house of her own. She's proud that she doesn't have to ask her husband for money - with her salary, she can easily buy food and clothes, and take family members to the hospital without having to worry.

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