In Nsumba, located in the Mukono District of Uganda, Racheal Namatovu is smiling as she watches her trees grow. Their growth is so encouraging to Racheal. Racheal owns and operates a 2-acre tree farm of eucalyptus trees with her family. Racheal, with the help of her mother, has planted over 15,000 seedlings which will be ready for harvesting in 2013. The wood will be sold mostly for construction, electrical poles and firewood. Though she faces some challenges with termites and the weather, Racheal’s upbringing, faith and education lets her take it all in with a positive attitude.
When Racheal was nine, Compassion International, an international child advocacy ministry, came to her village. Through their support and that of her sponsor, Racheal was provided her basic needs like, bedding, soap, shoes, and medical care. This made growing up much easier for Racheal, compared to her four older siblings. The other thing that Compassion International provided, and the most important to Racheal, was her education.
Having graduated from the Compassion International Child program, Racheal was accepted to Mbarara University and into Compassion International’s Leadership Development Program (LDP). Besides providing monetary support for her tuition, the LDP has mentors to support the students in the program. It was through this program that Racheal was blessed to meet Akimanzi Augustine.
Uncle Akim, as Racheal affectionately calls him, inspired Racheal to think about investment. What could she invest in that would provide for her in the future? Her brain started working and working. You see, owning a business wasn’t exactly Racheal’s dream. As a child Racheal dreamt about becoming a doctor and at University she was studying Medical Laboratory Sciences. Why would she want to start her own business? But the more she learned, the more this investment made sense. After the initial investment of securing the land, buying the seedlings and the time of planting, Racheal realized that her input would be minimal and yet these trees would provide for her for years to come. In fact today, as her eucalyptus trees grow, this reluctant business woman is evaluating expanding her business onto another parcel of land to grow pine trees.
Like her trees, Racheal has strong roots. These roots, which she established through her family, teachers and mentors have made her a well balanced and mature individual. Her personal investment in herself to live a spiritual life, one of gratitude and one of a servant leader, will pay her dividends in years to come. As will her trees.
SOUL Survey Questions
- How do you stay focused and motivated?
Paraphrasing from proverbs, invest all you can, you never know what might make you rich. Plus my family believes in me. They’ve always encouraged me.
- How do you deal with naysayers?
If there were any, I must have forgotten about them.
- What advice would you give to people who want to pursue their dreams?
Go for it! You never know if anything really works unless you take the first step towards it.