Savoring Success, Gaining Strength
To all those who contributed to Local Women Global Mission (Lila and I), to all those who encouraged us and supported us, to all those that have been sending well wishes and prayers let us savor together some recent victories.
I just got back from a trip to our first African home of Atiak and left overflowing with pride and encouragement. You, me, her, them, WE have initiated some meaningful changes in an area that was only recently ignored by the world, as rebels/soldiers abducted children and tortured civilians.
Loans and leadership:
The first group of borrowers just finished their first six-month loan cycle. Every single borrower paid back her loan in full and on time! They have been attending support group meetings; re-creating important social bonds like trust, bolstering their self-confidence, and discussing local business. They have been saving! Not part of Ugandan culture, but a big part of WMI culture, saving is seen as an important factor in getting people and keeping people out of poverty. Sylvia has been an excellent leader. She is dedicated and determined. She has been encouraging and guiding these borrowers on their path to success!
Meet some of the borrowers from the first group of WMI ladies:
Aromarach Paska has finished her first 6-month cycle with WMI. She is 32, married, with 6 children plus a dependent. Dependents are very common in the north of Uganda due to the violence during the “Kony wars”. Paska always paid her loan on time and was one of the top 3 savers in her group. She says she saves in case of emergencies. She was awarded with a new lamp and much praise from the rest of the group! Since getting the loan Paska has expanded her fish business to also sell produce such as tomatoes and onions. She has seen her profits increase and aside from saving that increased profit, she has also used part of it to pay school fees and make small home improvements. She wants to remain with WMI so that she can continue to expand her business and make sure that all her 7 children finish their studies!
Atim Grace is 33, married, with 6 children. When she first started the program her face was hollow and she often wore a strained, tense expression. This trip I didn’t recognize her (6 months in the program). I actually asked our coordinator her name and when we had added a new member! Grace now looks healthy and dons a beaming smile. She has expanded her fish business to include produce. She thanks WMI training for her increased profits. “I have gained business skills. I now know how to welcome my costumers. I also can re-pay my loan and save.” All her children are now attending school. She is cooking more nutritious food at home and she has bought some basic furniture. She has big goals for the future! She first wants all her children to finish schooling, she wants to buy livestock, and eventually she wants to build a permanent house. She feels that continuing with WMI will help her achieve these goals.
A third group of Atiak borrowers were trained and given loans as well, amongst them our first disabled member. It is encouraging to think we are truly reaching the most vulnerable.
School Fees and Simsim:
I had a wonderful visit with Tura. He made me fresh squeezed passion fruit juice and peas with simsim (sesame) paste. He is busy studying hard to pass his final exams of this year. He has decided to specialize in nursing as he continues his education. I have no doubt his patient manner and broad smile will serve him well in that role.
Emergency Vehicles and Everyday Births:
Earth Birth was a buzz of activity when I arrived. Stewart greeted me with a big enthusiastic hug dripping in sticky guava. Midwives and staff all emphasized how busy it has been, with up to 7 births in a day! The emergency vehicle is still in good working order and had left that morning to carry two women to the hospital in town (Lacor).
Congratulations Local Women Global Mission team!
Thank-you for all the various types of support, it was all needed to get to this point…
Forward in all directions
Amongst all the success, there were also two baby boys to cherish:
Molly’s baby, Isaak, is now 5 months. After a hard delivery (which Lila and I were present for) both mom and baby are happy and healthy!
Sylvia gave birth last month (from Earth Birth). Getting to hangout with baby Desmond was the best!