Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monumental Day!!!

Today was a monumental in many respects. Maybe monumental is an exaggeration, but it was a pretty awesome day nonetheless. If you remember my blog post, Resilience Training, we have come a long way since last year. Today after 12 months of saving, we gave back the money!!! Let me repeat this so you understand the reason for my excitement: after meeting every week and each member saving about 200 CFA, about 40 cents which is HUGE for these women, we “broke the box” or divided up the savings! The savings ranged anywhere from 47000 CFA, $94, to 8000 CFA, $16. When I handed out the money to each member, said their names, and shook their hands everyone was cheering and the cheering did not stop at the 20th person! We celebrated afterwards with a warm liter of Fanta, which was a wonderful treat.

Sidione, the translator, is a dear friend of mine; she was a life saver. She came in without knowing anyone in the group very well, not knowing what exactly the group did and she came every week to be the secretary! But the most wonderful thing about her is seeing how two groups of people who normally do not get along so well not only work together, but laugh and cry together. Let me explain, Sidione is Gbaya, or Christian, and the group members are Emborro, or Muslim. Generally different tribes to not mix. They live in different parts of town; they do not respect each other; they do not work with each other; they just tolerate each other. But this group is working together!

This is my most rewarding work, not because I actually do a ton with them, but because I am able to see how far they have come and knowing how far they will go. We have been through a lot together this year; the death of Moustapha, finding a new translator, the frustration of me struggling with French let alone speaking Fulfulde; but here we are now. January 8th we will be starting our 3rd cycle, or 3rd year of saving. They decided today that they all would set aside 1000 CFA, $2, for the start of next year so that can be prepared for any unexpected costs, sicknesses or deaths, that might occur. We are able to see the impact of Claire's, the Peace Corps Volunteer whom I replaced, and my work; they are planning head and saving on their own. That is precisely why it is the most rewarding work, because I can see the change! 

Today was a great day, my friends; what a wonderful day it was.

No comments: