Monday, August 31, 2009

Liesbeth in Kenya: building towards the future

Day 3 continued
Project visits

At the SACCO offices we had met with a few board members. One of them, Mr Christopher Tomaka Meikoki Parkau (2nd person from right in the picture) is the present SACCO chairman. He was very eager to have us visit his house in Bissil and meet his wife and (some of his) five children.

We each received a nice Masai necklace as a gift. The Masai is a Nomadic tribe who live mainly in Kenya and Tanzania and are well known for their colorful clothes and jewelry. To save money they invest in this jewellery which they carry around everywhere they go. The jewellery does not lose its value, so it is a very inventive saving mechanism. I was impressed by their generosity in giving away their invesments. Who of us would go to the bank, take up our savings and give it to strangers?

Mr Meikoki joined the SACCO in 1990 and has had six loans so far with the organisation. He presently has a loan of KES 180,000 (€1700). As the principal of Lenkishon Primary School, he is trying to diversify his income by the construction of six, two-room apartments (see picture, right). In about a month the apartment block will be ready for occupation and they have all been rented out. The income from these apartments will not only add to the low income of a teacher, but is a good way to protect against damaging affect of the drought.

For Masai, their cattle are their pride. As a Masai, Mr Meikoki has quite a number of cows. The price for cows is low at the moment and it is difficult to find grass for the cattle. Therefore, they need to buy additional food for the cattle. The income of a principle is not high so therefore the income from the apartments will help him to provide for his family and at the same time keep his cattle in a healthy shape.

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