Mama Phiri paid back her fritter loan, and Vivienne wants to come by tonight to repay her fertilizer loan. The women are definitely the most reliable! Neither woman had to be reminded to make her payments. In fact Mama Phiri has repaid before her due date. Yes, bet on the women!
Facilitating knowledge and information is one of our most important tasks. This morning I took Bagenda, who runs a women’s centre nearby, to Mr. Khumar. Khumar manages Sakisa Spinning, a yarn spinning factory. Two years ago he asked Bukuumo Cooperative if they were interested in helping women’s groups get knitting machines and the yarn to do piece work for them.
Bukuumo never did get on it, but Bagenda was certainly interested! The timing was perfect – Sakisa had decided to open a centre in their factory, and the knitting machines are already on their way. He was very happy to negotiate with Bagenda for some machines for her women’s group. They will both gain – he can sell the yarn, and her women can get some experience and make a little money.
They’re anxious to get the project going as soon as possible. The cold season is just around the corner. Nights are getting nippy now, and we are thankful for wool blankets at night and sweaters and jeans for the morning hours. Sadly we know many people don’t have adequate blankets and clothing for this time of year.
Yesterday we were in Mpongwe and discussed business principles with our farm cooperative members. One principle we stressed is that of protecting your capital. Many people have a small ‘grocery’, often at a makeshift roadside stand or at their house. They buy staple foods in bulk and sell in smaller quantities.
These businesses often fail. Their owners begin to eat the groceries without paying for them; not adhering to the principle of separating yourself from your business. It’s difficult to tell someone who has no money and little else to eat that they can’t take the rice from their grocery without paying for it.
Those are the times we realize it is so easy for us to talk, but we have no idea really, of what it would be like to walk in their shoes. But the business principle still applies even there – you can’t eat your capital or your business dies.