It has been a couple of weeks since my last update and I’ve got so much to catch you up on, but first, I want to introduce you to the people I have been spending most of my time with.
Augustina is staying with me at the house and next to my father, she makes the best food! She is a lot of fun and we like to play games in our spare time. I taught her how to play some card games and she taught me how to play a board game that is similar to the game Sorry! but with many more opportunities to say “Sorry!” to your opponent and not really mean it.
Joshua is Videre’s new program manager and he is the one I spend most of my time with. He comes to pick me up on his motorbike in the mornings and we travel to the different villages of Videre’s entrepreneurs to check in with them and find out how their businesses are doing. He knows Dagbani, Likpakpaln and English so he is the middleman and translates everything that’s said in our meetings.
Azindow is one of the local pastors in Yendi and he and his family have been so hospitable and kind. He goes out of his way to make sure that Augustina and I are taken care of, and laughing is guaranteed in the presence of this guy.
You may be wondering, “What does a day in the life look like over there for Brittany?” I’d love to tell you! Over the past two weeks, Joshua and I have been meeting with 3-4 people each day, going through an evaluation of Videre’s training program. The goal is to meet with each entrepreneur who has completed Videre’s training program and received a loan, and gather information about how their business is doing, how the lives of those in their family and community have been impacted through their business, how they are sharing good news of Jesus through their business, and receive feedback on the business program, both what they like and specific areas they think can be improved. This has been such a great opportunity for me to see what microfinance looks like on the ground, and I have really enjoyed getting to meet all of the entrepreneurs and gaining a better insight into their daily lives. So far we have met with 35 of the 42 participants and Lord willing, we will finish up early next week.
Now would be a good time to introduce you to just a few of Videre’s entrepreneurs. Timothy owns a provisions store in the village of Jagando. Through his business, he has been able to build relationships with the people in his community and often gets to share his testimony of how came to know the Lord and experienced His healing power. The people in Timothy’s small community no longer have to make the trek to Yendi to get what they need and can just walk over to his store, saving them a lot of time and energy.
Yakubu sells insecticide powder. When asked what the biggest effect the business had on his personal life was, he said that he was able to buy school uniforms and nice clothes for his children. He ran outside to grab a bag off his bike and came back in proudly holding up three pairs of jeans he had just purchased for his children.
Sana makes and sells shea butter. When we met with Sana she mentioned that her husband’s eye sight has increasingly gotten worse and he had to stop farming. Many people farm in Yendi and rely on their crops for food and income. Because of Sana’s shea butter business, the burden to provide for the family has been lifted from her husband’s shoulders and they are still able to provide for their family.
Next week we will start collecting the homework from the participants who just completed phase I of the training program, and determine who will move on to phase II which starts on September 30th. My original plan was to come to Ghana for phase I, stay through phase II and return home on October 6th after the completion of phase II, but after much thought and prayer, I have decided to return to Ghana on November 8th for phase III! Coming back for phase III will enable me to see what the program looks like from start to finish, and as icing on the cake, I will also get to see each of the participants receive their loan which will indeed be such a sweet moment!
I mentioned Augustina’s cooking earlier and I want to introduce you to one of the main foods here, known as fufu. Below you can see step-by-step how it’s made and how to eat it. I’ll also show you how to prepare the guinea fowl that sometimes accompanies fufu, however, in this example, we made guinea fowl stir-fry.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Until next time…