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THE ROAD TO MARKET

Aug 26, 2020

The Namikango VSL program looks for ways to help improve the living standards of people both physically and spiritually. What ablessing it is to move from being the poorest in the area to financially independent.
On December 14, 2019, a team from Namikango wanted to visited the VSLgroup in Kavukuvuku Village. We parked or vehicle along the tar-macroad and walked about 100 yards to the river. We were shocked to see a long, hanging bridge made with some tree branches, ropes, and other things. Whenever the villagers want to go tothe market, to the maize mill, to the hospital, or to other important facilities,they use this bridge.
People in the Kavukuvuku Village live in poverty. Many lack adequate food, shelter, and clothing. They grow maize (corn) and tobacco, but roads and supplies do not make it to the villages here. This village is located in hilly country on the other side of a huge Rukuru River, so it is very difficult to access the village. This makes it difficult for them to take their crops to market to sell, since going around the river makes the journey too long. The current bridge is very minimal. As a result, their trading ability is very limited. For a business to be successful, there are a number of factors that must be considered: they need capital ,access to good roads, and marketing skills, to mention a few. The people in this area do not have any of these things and the result is they suffer trying to market their crops. Even a standard, slightly larger, handmade bridge allowing minimal transport of supplies and social services across the river would be beneficial towards such business success, but it has been impossible for villagers to put together the funds for such a project.
While each one of us was slightly scared to cross the existing bridge, it was obvious the only way for the team to get where we needed to go was to cross that bridge …and . . . we did! Our meeting with the VSL team was good. While we were with the group, they shared a number of other ideas they had that could help their area. They want to multiply the number of VSLgroups in the area, as they believe it is one of the best ways to get the community to work together. With several VSLs they could join efforts and build a better bridge. They also have ideas of buying their own maize mill, reducing the long distances travelled, and the cost spent almost every day to have their maize ground for food.
Members of the group thanked Namikango Mission for reaching out to the area with the VSL program. This saving practice has already helped to change their lives in ways both physical and spiritual, and it has helped them organize for future developments.
by Styford Blazio