Friday, June 22, 2012
We conducted our first training sessions this week and we are off to a good start. The women at Ruuju were enthusiastic about thinking of their shambas (farms) as businesses. For the most part these women are substinence farmers, everything they have including their employment comes from the operation of their farms. We walked them through several examples of their ‘business plans’, the inputs (costs), outputs (productions), and profit/loss of popular crops here. The women told us they found it very practical, and several of them wanted more than one copy of the “Business Planning” sheet we had prepared for them. They promised to put them to use, and even opened their homes to us if we so desired to come and check their “homework”! We are looking forward to conducting a few of these sessions with the Muchui members and community. This week we also had our first sub-committee meeting. The business center has five profit centers, and each has a few members (sub-committees) which keep its records. We are working with the center’s accountant to unify these reporting mechanisms and to teach the women to read the financial statements. This task is a little more difficult, but we will do our best to help them to understand the concepts.
We got to go to a waterfall with Salome and her sister this past weekend. The landscape here is incredibly beautiful. It is strange though how within kilometres of each other there are lush green areas which have rivers and plentiful water and also dusty dry zones that rely on expensive piped water as the rain rarely shows up in abundance.
Slowly we are adjusting to the random cow, goat, and sheep herds meandering through the streets on our way to work. The busyness that at first seemed like constant chaos now has a regular type of flow to it. We know how to greet the people in their mother tongue, “muga”, “mugani”, “habari”, and the locals really enjoy it when we holler this to them as we pass. So many friendly faces here. We have even made a few close friends and are throwing a Canada Day party on July 1st. They love to party here, and their faces light up when we give out the invitations. That is going to be a fun day! Off to Mama Jen’s for the weekend. She is taking us to church and teaching us to make chapattis. They are like African pancakes and I am excited to learn the recipe, as it is one ethnic I plan to make when I return to Canada!