A lot has happened since the last blog post. On July 18th Eric and I met with the leadership of the church at Lumala, the first and largest Methodist church in the Mwanza area (To be clear, it’s about 3 years old and has about 45 members). We discussed whether they would want to move ahead on two different programs/projects. We were happy to hear that they certainly wanted to move ahead on them, as soon as possible (The title means, roughly, “Let’s go to work”).
The first is called Church and Community Mobilization Processes (CCMP). This will educate the church on what community development looks like, what it doesn’t looks like, how to go about it, etc. We will teach from the Bible about how relating to God well means caring for the community, as well as from the development side, about how to identify resources, use them well, etc. We will teach it each Tuesday (we began yesterday) for several hours. We are feeling pretty thankful that we did not have to invent the wheel here; CCMP was developed by a charity called Tearfund http://www.tearfund.org/ , and has proven successful in providing the foundation for development work in many churches in our area.
The second is called Pamoja. I discussed this some in my last update. This is a program where church members and members of the larger community form a group, (or several groups), and save a small amount each week. After a few months, they have saved enough to begin making loans to each other, and have the choice whether to charge interest and how much to charge. We have not set the exact dates yet, but we plan to start this the third week of August. Both of these programs will be done at the Lumala church’s building, but leaders and members from the newer churches at Nyagezi and Igombe will be present as well.
Afterwards, we discussed the possibility of building a more lasting structure for the church at Lumala to meet in. Their current meeting place is made of metal sheets and wood. (here they are worshiping)
After the meeting Eric and I talked about this. He suggested that we could buy 4000 bricks for a roughly $2200, which would be enough for the church. Alternatively, we could probably buy a manual brick press and the inputs to make 4000 bricks for close to that same amount, and then after the church was built, the young men of the church could use the press to start a small business.
Since then, a friend named Zach, who is Kenyan (and therefore speaks excellent English) but has lived in Tanzania for many years has taken me all over the city of Mwanza to find prices on brick machines, cement, sand, running pipe for the water, and building a small shed. He is quite a guy, being good with English, building, the culture, and he is also enjoyable to talk to. After adding it all up, we estimate that we can pay for the machine, machine training, inputs for 4000 bricks, the water pipe, and the storage shed for $2755.
As these projects take shape, I will discuss them in my updates, but we are also teaching the church members to start posting their own updates on the Mwanza District facebook page.