You may remember me talking about Steven Baruani in my last update. He’s a leader of the Lumala United Methodist Church who has grown his business since we started working with him. He has also been leaving the dependency mindset behind, so we wanted to entrust him with more responsibility. I was happy to see that he handled this responsibility – follow-up visits to two of the folks who came to the April entrepreneurship training – quite well. I’ll let him take it away.
Name: Rajabu Masudi
Steven: Have you started doing business?
Rajabu: Yes. I was selling phone lines. I stopped that work because there were so few customers. Right now, I have decided to do a soap business.
Steven: How much will you need to start?
Rajabu: I will need 40,000 TSH ($18). When I sell, the total will be 80,000 TSH ($36). Profit will be 40,000 TSH ($18). I have already started business of selling women’s shoes. I started with 150,000 TSH ($66.84). I actually just arrived with the shoes today, and I haven’t yet counted how many there are, but I expect if I sell them and don’t have any problems I will get a little over 300,000 TSH ($133.68).
Steven: Why do you think you have succeeded in doing business?
Rajabu: Because of the training I have received from CCMP and Pamoja. (These are our asset-based community development and savings and loan group programs.)
Steven: What do you like about doing your business?
Rajabu: I want to be a big businessman. I’m increasing my wealth and I’m able to help my younger sister pay her school fees. I’m searching for more market, even in the villages. For example, I noticed when I was in Dar es Salaam that they don’t have minnows to eat. Therefore, after I finish selling these shoes, I would like to start selling minnows.
Steven: What are your challenges?
Rajabu: Finding a market for the product. Many people are selling shoes, so it brings the price lower.
Steven: How has the training helped you?
Rajabu: It helped me to come up with ideas for doing business that are different from the ideas that other people have.
Steven: Where are you expecting that your business will be done?
Rajabu: I don’t have a great place to do business, so I will go to the customers. I’ll go to different shops, offices, houses, even to the believers at our Church
Name: Musa Songoro
Steven: Have you started business?
Musa: Yes, I have started business of buying fish and selling. I’m letting my wife manage the business. We started with capital of 100,000 TSH ($45). From this, we have now gotten 300,000 ($135).
Steven: Why is your business succeeding?
Musa: We are succeeding because my wife and I are working together at our business. I am employed at another place, so I am taking care of the capital we need to buy the fish.
Steven: What challenges do you see in your business?
Musa: Sometimes we can’t get enough fish.
Steven: How have the CCMP and Pamoja studies helped you?
Musa: First, they helped me come up with ideas. They have given me confidence. They gave me this step, and now I can take another step.
Steven: Where is your market available?
Musa: We are selling fish at the Sabasaba market. My wife is well-known there.
Steven: What are you expecting from your business?
Musa: I would like, after I get enough money, to take fish from Mwanza to the villages to sell.
Steven: How are you using the money you are making?
Musa: For now, I have the challenge of paying for my child’s schooling. He is studying at a private school. I’m still building as well. I am building a house with two rooms, and I am paying my house rent. Once I finish building this house, I have the idea of opening a little store.
One understandable mistake that Steven made was where he asked about their challenges. Of course, it’s important to understand your challenges, but the folks at this Church are already quite focused on their challenges. We are trying to get them to move from focusing on what they don’t have, to what they do have. Steven understands this to a degree, but he still assumed that he should ask about them. I imagine it will come as a surprise when I explain to him that we are so interested in this mindset change that we don’t even want him to ask about challenges.
Aside from this small mistake, it’s exciting to see him taking on some of the responsibility of helping his Church out of poverty. As the title says, they are moving forward.
Thank you for all of your kindness to me, friends.