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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 44 Bulimbo June 21, 2011


Today we met with Pastor Robert Wafula of Wamula International to discuss partnering with them to establish a micro-finance operation to help bring in funds from the states.  We spent the morning and part of the afternoon going over the entire loan process and how this might work.  He took notes and is going to formulate the by-laws from his existing loan process to meet our requirements.  After he has it completed we will meet again to discuss further. 

One of our main concerns is how the money is going to be transferred from the states to the micro-finance operation.  After our meeting in Bulimbo we headed to Mumias to visit with the bank manager at Equity bank to discuss the process of having the money released from the main signatory in the states to the micro-finance operation here in Kenya.  Not a problem what essentially happens two accounts are set up at Equity bank with the first account attached to an account in the states through the Swift code system.  The signatory(s) of the first account will transfer the money to the second account.  Once the funds have been transferred into the second account the signatories of that account will approve the distribution of the loan.  During the loan repayment period the payments will be put back into the first account to be redistributed later.

After our visit with the bank we stopped to look at the motor bike the Associate Bishop wanted to purchase.  The motor was in great shape, didn’t smoke, and sounded good.  However the rest of the motor bike did not look that great.  It had a couple of broken wires that ran to the brake lights, broken blinkers, some busted welds, loose bolts, and other cosmetic problems.  The owner wanted 45,000 Ksh for it.  A new motor bike is around 80,000 Ksh.  They asked me my opinion and I told them around 20,000 to 25,000 Ksh.  I told them to offer 30,000 Ksh and see what happens.  After we left the motor bike we quickly went by Victory Furniture Designers to pay Mathew for the balance of the support posts he made for the widow’s passion fruit orchard.

We left Mumias to head back to Kakamega to check the progress of the orchard.  Once we got there the afternoon storm was coming in fast so we decided to leave.  The widows still have about 23 seedlings to go.  They were not able to find enough sticks to support the vines to the support wire.  We will be back on site tomorrow to finish.

Another area of concern in the micro-finance operation is that the need is so huge and the funds are limited.  How are we going to decide who gets loans and who doesn’t?  Take passion fruit for example let’s say we have 50 passion fruit orchards to be planted but can only fund 30.  Or we have projects in Western Kenya, Central Kenya, Northern Kenya, or even another country like Uganda that are all viable but only have the funds to help one or two regions.  Within the micro-finance institution there has to be a mechanism that does not discriminate and stays non-biased.  One of our main objectives is to make sure we do no harm.  We have to understand that this is Kenya and within the country there are cultural differences among the people.  I would like to say that we will look at all Kenyans as Kenyans but that is not necessarily how our actions might be perceived.  The people of Kenya understand their differences (I do not) among themselves and have very high expectations that their new Constitution will break themselves of their bad habits towards each other.  We are here to glorify our Lord and the last thing we want to do is cause any problems.  As we get further along in this venture I am sure that the right answers will come.

This is my third trip to Kenya.  I have taken in so much information my head hurts but for some reason I just can’t seem to get Swahili.  Sometimes I feel like a complete idiot why can’t I catch on.  I hear it enough, and it is explained enough but it will not stick in my head.  I have come to the conclusion that I need a mental cleansing of my brain to get rid of the useless information that is stored in there so I can learn to communicate with these people in their own language.  It’s just plain embarrassing when someone comes up says something in Swahili and all I can do is smile.

Take care and God bless


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