When civil war struck South Sudan in the 80s and 90s, like many South Sudanese, Namadi Lucia fled across the border to find safety in Uganda. As a refugee there, she learned from her grandmother how to make a local Ugandan food called ayoga, or mashed peas. When it was finally safe for Namadi to return to South Sudan, she began making and selling ayoga in Kajo Keji, where the dish is highly prized, but difficult to come by.
In 2009 her husband died, leaving her immobilized and bitter. At the time, he was the sole provider for their family. Namadi remembers, “I was living in misery, even suicidal.” But through the urging of her children, she visited the local church where she heard about Jesus. “Jesus made me forget the pain from my husband’s death. I found hope, something bigger than stability.”
She started her business out of her home with just one utensil and her saucepan. And now, with the help of a Seed Effect microloan and training, Namadi has been able to open her very own restaurant in Wudu Market, the largest market in Kajo Keji, where she sells ayoga. She named her restaurant “Those Who Come from Arua,” after the town in Uganda where she stayed as a refugee. As she’s repaid her loans, she has continued to take additional, larger loans to invest in and grow her business. Her restaurant is doing so well she’s been able to hire two additional employees. Namadi is encouraged by the discipleship that Seed Effect provides and she uses the income she earns from her business to care for her six children. “I am someone who endures,” says Namadi. “God is with me through all times, helps me to understand my purpose, even when it’s difficult.”
Update 01.20.16: Since we met with Namadi in August 2015, her family has suffered another loss. Her daughter passed away on January 15th, 2016 from complications caused by malaria and hepatitis. Please lift Namadi and her family up in prayer for during this difficult time.