January 2018 Trip - Empowerment Update
Fred is the interim Agriculture Coordinator. He is waiting to hear about his application to the seminary. He is getting oriented to the many projects and has good understanding of the purpose of his position.
Father and I spoke about the importance of having them available and he purchased 300 for the school and villagers. I hope we can fund this out of 2016 golf outing funds.
The Women’s Bank continues to operate and is considered to be beneficial. They are struggling with 8 women who are not repaying their loans. The Bank leaders are working working with the UAB and local Chiefs to encourage repayment. Father will meet with Elizabeth to discuss a complaint that she is putting forth applicants for loans without full input from the Bank leadership. 2 new Bank leaders are now in place.
The Basket Co-op completed the full order the Flute Makers (who buy them wholesale and sell to fund their projects in Nicaragua. This is a first and indicates progress. Melissa asked them to make neutral colors for HFK sale. They interpreted neutral as black and white and there were a lots of these. I selected other colors to bring back, and to their credit they asked for specific colors for the next order.
The Women’s Center was being painted while we were there. The courtyard also has nice walkways and planters. It looks great. Sister Rose, a Canossian nun from Bethlehem, works one day every 2 weeks with the women to instill values and promote group cohesion while working on small business ideas. She offered to meet weekly, but the women requested less often. She has a clear vision and a gentle approach. Her personality reminds me of the pharmacy student Joseph Nanseera (for those who know him).
Fred taught a class about raising and selling chicks at the center last Saturday. Sister Rose came as well. With electricity, the eggs can be incubated. Father introduced the idea, but allowing the women to decide if they would like to proceed.