Thank you for your kindness to me. I have been pretty happy lately to hear that Gabimori United Methodist has started their savings group. These groups normally stand or fall with the wisdom and dedication of their leaders, and Gabimori has some of the most mature, dedicated leadership of any Church that I have seen in Tanzania. Here is the Church’s Pastor, Musa Oguri, and the lay leader, Ibrahim Barnabas, is at top right in the following picture. I respect these two leaders most highly, and they also have several others- Tumaini Vitalis and Ochieng Esron to name a couple- who express an uncommon level of dedication to their Church.
(Photo Credit: Glenn Glover)
Therefore, I take the group to be in good hands. This is also a good place for a group- a fishing village, more remote than any other village that I have visited in Tanzania. They have consistent economic activity (fishing) to give them some money, but few ways to turn daily income into lump sums large enough to be useful, or to get an advance on future earnings when a need might strike. They manage their money by buying livestock, which has a few drawbacks- animals die often and can be stolen easily, are expensive to feed, and aren’t easily divisible. If you saved $25 (roughly similar to real goat prices in Gabimori) by buying a goat, and then you need $5 of the savings, you can’t very well sell 1/5 of the goat. You’ll have to sell the whole thing, and then find somewhere to put the remaining $20. The group is a safe, simple way for members to save each week, and once savings have built up over a few weeks, it will also serve as a loan resource, offering a stronger alternative to the livestock system. Here are a couple pictures of the group.
We also were thankful to start the physical construction on the brick machine project, by starting the well-digging on October 14th (not a bad birthday present!) The man at center is the leader of the well-digging crew, starting the digging. Mwita, leader of our efforts to help the youth who live on the streets, stands to the front left, and the Village Chairman stands to the right.
As of today, the well is now 22 feet deep. This well is different from the more well-known deep wells that supply enough water for a village community or school. Our only purpose for this well is to supply water for the brick project, and we estimate that a 33-foot well will do the job.
I left Tarime on Thursday afternoon for a short trip to Mwanza, and then received word on Friday morning that the shed for storing the materials was finished. As I’m still in Mwanza, I haven’t been able to take a picture of it, but I’ll post one as soon as I get back on Sunday.
On Monday, we will start the bathroom, and Mwita will get the youth who will work the project to clear the tall grass and bushes from the area where the project will be. I felt thankful to be here when I was able to tell Mwita to get the older youth ready to clear the area, since the project is starting. Because of their age, we have not been able to reunite these youth with their families, so they have been living on the streets. They have been spending many months stuck on the streets, wondering about their future, and a few days ago we were able to tell them that we are starting the project that will serve as a job and skills training. (The title means, “One who brings good news”.)
Thank you, friends, for caring about the people of Tanzania. Since you care about them, I was able to tell these youth that we are starting the project.