As a teenager who grew up during the insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army, going to school was not easy for Betty. She wishes she had been able to finish secondary school, and part of the reason she applied to work at Elephante was to receive enough income on a reliable basis to send her own children to school, keep the family together, and eventually buy her own land. Her daughter and son, 14 and 10 years old, studied in their village first before she rented a house in Layibi, just outside of Gulu town, so they could attend a better school.
When she isn’t working at Elephante, Betty runs small businesses on the side, cooking and selling baked goods like chapati (a flatbread made with wheat flour), lagalagala (popularly translated as pancakes), sombusa (like Indian samosas), and mandazi (similar to doughnuts). She feels an attachment to Uganda and an affinity for all Ugandans, and she wishes that people didn’t feel like leaving Uganda to go elsewhere for work.
Gulu district is still struggling financially, and she wants the local government to create economic opportunities for people to stay, especially the youth. She explains, “Even if there is a job, the money can be little and not enough for your life, so your heart keeps thinking, ‘what am I going to do?’” Betty is glad to work at Elephante where she makes enough income to maintain her home and work toward a positive future and where she is able to meet people from outside Uganda, work in shifts, take days off, participate in staff prayer, and receive a daily staff lunch. Here, “you feel happy, not hungry all the time. The way I see it, it’s okay. They love us,” she says.