Namikango Mission

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It is Time to Share-Out

Sep 26, 2017

By Susan Hayes

As we arrived in a small African village, to the area designated for a Share-Out, we immediately noticed a large group of women and some men sitting in front of the mud huts waiting for us. The women had bright colored kitenge cloths wrapped around their waists. The orange, red, blue, purple, yellow, and green colors seemed brighter than usual against the brown of the mud huts behind them. They all rose to their feet as our car pulled up and they began to sing.

Traditionally, the African men and women celebrate the arrival of visitors. But, this time, this event was not about the visitors. It was the day of the Share-Out.

A Share-Out is the event that happens typically after 9 months for the women and men that are a part of Village Savings & Loan (VSL). They have saved as a community for these months and this was the day they would get their savings and earnings returned to them. They Share-Out the money to the members of the group and a small amount is also given to support the community’s needs or projects. This VSL group was predominantly women.

The joy and excitement in the air was palpable. We could all feel it. As the VSL officer counted out each person’s money, everyone was genuinely excited for each other and sang and clapped and celebrated each other’s successes.

There was a real feeling of accomplishment and victory as each person was handed their savings. It is hard to put into words the looks on these people’s faces – absolute joy, dignity, empowerment, strength, confidence, acceptance, community. What an honor to witness this event! We will never forget it!