November 10, 2012
By Simon Chambers
Zaida, Christine (our CIDA field officer) and I are now in Mozambique after a few great days with folks at the Keiskamma Trust. It was a trip that unfortunately ended with a bang- a car accident involving one of the Keiskamma vehicles on our way to do field visits before heading to the airport. As of the time we left, everyone was ok other than some shock and a few head aches. But please pray for all the Keiskamma people who were in the vehicle that was hit, as well as those in the tractor that careened across the road and hit them. Zaida, Christine and I were all in a different vehicle from the one that was involved in the crash.
The accident, while a major aspect of the last couple of days, is not what I wanted to focus on today.
Today we met with the women of the Caixa here in Nampula. Caixa is a Portuguese word meaning “box” or “storage box”. It is the short form of the name of a women’s micro-credit organization that PWRDF works with here in Nampula. After we flew in today, we spent the afternoon with staff, board members, and members of the Caixa, hearing about the work of this great group.
We heard story after story about the loans women had received, how they had enabled them to grow businesses from the ground up and send children to university. We heard about challenges facing women farmers who can’t repay loans on a monthly basis, since their crops take 4-6 months to grow.
And we heard why women choose to use the Caixa for savings.
We heard that some women keep their money at the Caixa so they can use the interest from their savings to pay for social events or for farming needs or other such things.
We heard about women who kept their money in the Caixa’s vault to avoid having it taken when they are robbed at gunpoint in their homes (no joke- this happens too frequently here!) We heard about the danger of house fires and peoples’ savings literally going up in smoke.
But then we heard the one that made us laugh.
It’s no laughing matter for the people affected, but it’s a reason I’ve *never* heard of for opening a savings account.
They put their money in the Caixa so the rats won’t eat it.
There are always light-hearted moments like this on our trips, among the long days and visits to offices and villages and homes of people. These are the stories we like to laugh over later at the office. The money-eating rats is one such story.
If you want to hear about the pig on the beach, ask me when I’m back in Toronto!