A Rose from Florence
Thank you for all the loans you make to Kiva. As a Kiva Fellow, I get the joy of receiving the gratitude that is truly meant for all of you.
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of meeting Florence Musola at a loan disbursement for the Balikyewunya Borrower’s Group. She was one of the first members to arrive at the meeting, so we were able to carry out a lengthy interview while the other members trickled in. It was fortunate that we got started early because Florence had lots to tell us about being a florist in Kampala, Uganda.
She started off by explaining that when you work with brides it can be a headache because they are sooo particular. But, it is not just brides who are complicated, she continued, when you are a florist you have to know that people from different religions want specific colors and flowers at their various ceremonies. After making sure we were getting all of this down, she explained in infinite detail that there is a huge difference between a flower arrangement for a center table and one for a side table. Who knew?
The whole interview was far from what I expected when I first started doing Kiva Borrower interviews… I spent half of my time amused at what I imagine are similarities between her clients and floral clients all over the world, and the other half trying to wrap my mind around the concept that I was interviewing an upscale and very knowledgeable florist who happened to be mixed in with the poultry farmers, dairy farmers, and pig farmers of Gayaza (the town where she lives).
Today, I managed to visit Florence at her place of work. (I made a short video during my visit.) Her shop was bustling and busy. It turns out there are many other florists who work out of the same location. The smell of her shop transported me back to the floral shop where I used to buy flowers before high school dances. It was one of those moments where if I had closed my eyes, I could have been in a floral shop anywhere in the world.
While we were there, Florence showed us albums of the work she has done for weddings and birthday parties. Her work is amazing, full of color and creativity beyond what I have ever seen in the USA. Anyone planning to get married, or have any kind of party, in Uganda should definitely hire her!
At the end of the visit, she gave me a beautiful red rose. I had had such a wonderful visit, I wished that I had something to give her. Now, writing this, I wish I there was a way to pass my beautiful rose on to all the people who made loans to her. She was giving me the rose because I represent those people and really all the people who make loans to Kiva!
Although I can’t pass my rose, I really want to pass on the gratitude she expressed. Thanks for making Kiva loans possible for Florence, and for all the poultry farmers, dairy farmers, and pig farmers who may have somewhat less glamorous stories.