Friday, February 06, 2009

New friends, new house

15 gathered together every week for 2 years. On Fridays, they rotated to each member's home to work on that farm. Sharing work on farms is a very common trend added onto these savings groups. And we know the efficiency of having more hands to share the work, not to mention the encouragement. After they work on that member's farm, each free laborer then pays the recipient of the labor with their weekly savings. Wow. We all work on your farm this Friday, and then we pay you our savings for the week.

They save a total of 1,100 RWF ($2.00 USD) per week, 1,000 rotates to the host farmer, and 100 goes into the accumulating fund. They make loans at 10%, and right now the group has a total of 40,000 RWF ($72.73 USD) on account and 24,000 ($43.64) out on loan. Marita uses her rotating lump sum to buy paraffin and soap, Susanne was able to purchase a phone. Francis took a 5,000 loan plus his own 2,000 and purchased a goat for 7,000 RWF ($12.73 USD). Ngendahayo has bigger plans.

Ngendahayo is quite a young man who seemingly spends much time on the farm by himself. Before this savings group, he was isolated. Isolation is a common theme for many in poverty, but here is this young man, hard working, plenty of promise, and his future is soil and toil. His future is poor and alone. Recently, his future changed. Ngendahayo has joined a savings group where he thrives, and he says that he now feels free to meet others. In fact, he is just energized about life. With a supportive social network and 16,500 ($30.00) on loan for materials and nails, he is now building a house … and plans to marry soon.

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