My first impression of England? Chaotic and cold! Having lived in Mbarara and Kampala for the first 13 years of my life, I was very attached to the lifestyle there. To the warm weather and pampered feeling of having chauffeurs drive you around and have people help you do your laundry. Suddenly, everything changed! As you can imagine, I did not want to move to England but having lived here for so long now I can't imagine it any other way.
"At the time, I had a settlement visa and agreed to travel on the condition that I could visit Uganda as many times as I wanted. Which I did! In the first year alone, I flew back 5 times!"
I moved to the UK on the 28th of February in 2009 together with my little sister. I sometimes get confused with the dates since it has been so long. My family forced me to move since my sister could not travel alone and my mother needed to be cared for. At the time, I had a settlement visa and agreed to travel on the condition that I could visit Uganda as many times as I wanted. Which I did! In the first year alone, I flew back 5 times! I was really depressed and I just wanted to stay connected to my family and friends back home.
I was an accountant before and I have worked in the city for years. Even though the first 2 years were crazy, after making friends, I slowly started to appreciate the country and the differences in culture. The UK makes you tough and gives you a much-needed reality check. You have to hustle and be strong. You have to be creative in how you approach life.
In the process of acclimatising, I stumbled upon sewing and I loved it. Everyone loved what I was doing which motivated me to do it even more! Eventually, I ended up starting a business and growing a brand that people love. On my trips back to Uganda, I started to do some research on tailors and I would often test them to see the speed and quality in which they would deliver on designs. Soon, I had a team of amazing Ugandan tailors who have helped me set up VerylDesigns, an African print clothing brand based in London that creates bold print and daring garments made from afro print material.
As you can imagine I am always sending money back home and I need a service that is reliable not just for me but also for my tailors and clients. What is most refreshing is not only knowing that NALA is fast and dependable but also that it is African owned. I use NALA to pay my tailors, order new material, pay for shipments and send money back home. I don't have to struggle with limits on my account, 30-day delays on transactions, or anxiously wait for someone to communicate when I need to speak to support through the app. Using NALA has been the best experience for me as a businessperson but also for me, Rachel the Ugandan with loved ones back home.