In the town of LIRA, on the way to our SACCO, we experience organized chaos in the form of many things. People seem to be in tune with each other, in and out of traffic without road rage and yet somehow with some sort of hierarchy of traffic ettiquette, if there is such a thing. Looking in any one direction, we see hundreds of people who are walking, bicycling (always with cargo on board), people fixing their bikes, barbers set up under a tree, people bagging coal, vendors getting ready for selling anything from shoes to clothing, to just laughing, smiling, shaking hands and enjoying life. It is like Where's Waldo in hyper-motion.
So today was a very good day. We were able to visit our SACCO to provide our final report. Yesterday we were able to visit many SACCO members in their homes which was a great experience. They all had the same message - that without the SACCO, they would not have been able to buy the things in life that have made them succeed. We visited Alfred, who is a school teacher and had been taking small loans at a time in order to build his house a bit at a time. He was ecstatic to be putting up a corrogated roof instead of the traditional thatched roof, so that it would last longer. Besides being a teacher, he has a small nursery and sells the seeds that he cultivates, and he is also a cassava farmer (like a potato). He and his beautiful family are testament to the postive experience that a SACCO encourages......with a hand UP, not a hand OUT. He also quoted that "without savings, your future is gone".
Another member, Lucy, was proud to show us her house and offer us lunch - consisted of rice, goat meat, cabbage, matoke (banana cooked) and it was very nice. Her biggest accomplishment to date was that because she was able to take loans from the credit union, her daughter was able to attend University. What a great success.
So besides that, we took rides around today - and Craig and I rode in the back of the truck, to the shock of everyone. We have a small truck and had to transport about 11 people, so everyone normally piles into the back. WELL, we caused quite the stir getting into the back.....us Mazungos...meaning white people. They all laughed and loved it....those of you who really know me know that this was nothing odd for me. :-) Given the roads, I was glad that Dennis (a board member) held onto me from behind...so at the end of the day I still haven't found Waldo!?!?!?! Perhaps tomorrow. Today: be grateful that you have choices in your life. You dont have to just exist. Most here have to live life....in order to sustain life. period.