Yesterday, I visited yet another small village, Tororo, where women have come together to try to improve their lives and the lives of their families. I love the spirit of the group. They call their group the “Winning Women”. It was clear in our meeting that they do indeed intend to win. Their leader, Suzan, a young mother of three, is determined and purposeful. She will lead this group to greatly improved lives.
Like many women they are a little frightened about taking out loans. Their economic life up to this point has been so fragile that this is a big step. They asked many questions including whether or not TGC would take their houses if they were not able to repay their loans! This gives some insight into what they’ve experienced or seen others experience with loan programs. While most micro loan programs are very ethical, there are loan providers who are little more than loan sharks. No wonder they’re apprehensive.
After a tough drive in heavy rain, I went back to my comfortable hotel with plenty of hot water, electricity (!) and internet connection– such a contrast to the living conditions of most people here, a difference not lost on me. In the evening, I attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Mbale. They were most welcoming and gracious and asked me to talk about the work of TGC in Uganda. They were thrilled that we are doing this work. The club President Richard Kirya, works in development and has now introduced me to several Ugandan women who have groups they would like us to work with. The need is endless!
Today, I head to Jinja to meet with the Pit-Tek loan group and view their businesses and tomorrow to Kamuli to visit another group that has requested our help and then to the airport for a late night flight home. This may likely be my last post from Africa as I don’t believe I’ll have good internet access tonight or tomorrow.
As this trip winds down, I feel a little sadness at leaving these lovely ladies behind who need our help so badly but also happy that I’ve meet these groups and have determined that we can help them. I almost want to stay and work with them here all year round and yet I know I cannot. I want to be back home with all my creature comforts and I need to be back in the U.S., working with all of you to raise the funds to make the help for these ladies possible; to turn their modest dreams into reality.