Good things have been done!

I’m writing this on Friday. I think it will get published on Sunday.

Good Thing #1: I made some scones which I took across to Friend M. I made her a card a couple of weeks back, to encourage her while she was in rehab, and she came back home on Wednesday. We went to see her, and her partner, M, and it was such a pleasure to see her looking so much better. She looked brighter and cheerier, and explained a little about what she had been through. And she said firmly “Now I’m drinking nothing but water!” Good for her. We are hoping to re-start our card evenings, where we try to teach them cribbage and they try to teach us Tarot. (Don’t worry – it’s NOT reading tarot cards. It’s just the name of a card game.)

Here are the scones. I may have put one or two in the freezer for us!!

Good Thing #2: M, her partner, said he was driving down to Clermont today with someone from the village, to take clothes and shoes to a centre for refugees and migrants in Place 1ere Mai. I had already sorted out a bag of various bits and bobs, as I changed my wardrobe over yesterday…Autumn draws on and I’m thinking about fleeces! But Mr FD’s wardrobe is a mess.

Here’s a photo of the camp that is starting to grow in Clermont Ferrand

So I encouraged him to first go through the mountain of discarded shoes at the bottom of the coat wardrobe in the downstairs room. Some were too badly damaged to be given away, but there were five pairs that, although they were a bit battered, or rubbed Mr FD’s feet, were certainly good for a season’s wear. The really horrid ones have been set aside to go to the tip. Then he emptied his wardrobe upstairs and went through a pile of jumpers and tops that he doesn’t wear – they’re too short, or too small, or he doesn’t wear them…There were a few I was tempted to appropriate, until I remembered I had loads of clothes and these were going to people who were going to struggle to get through the winter. We took five bags of stuff across to M for him to take – including some hats and scarves which we don’t wear now.

Good Thing #3: While we were there M gave us an orange box full of peaches and one full of apples. To be honest, I think he was glad to be getting rid of them! So I skinned, chopped and sorted out the bruised bits from all the peaches, and made several freezer boxes full of peach compote/purée. Then Mr FD peeled and cored about half the apples – the other half were too damaged and bruised to be used. We could have gone through and picked and chopped the good bits but we already have boxes of stewed apple in the freezer and there’s a limit to how much one needs. But the leftovers are at least going to the composting bin at the tip.

Good Thing #4: I’ve prepared dinner for the Poor Cats. I fed them on Wednesday, and I’m due to feed them today as well. I used up some refused food from our Not-So-Poor Cats, plus a couple of tins of fairly cheap cat food. This gets mixed with hot water and a load of biscuits, which then makes a good mash for them to eat. Over the weekend I hope to also use some polystyrene sheets that Friend Richard gave me, to insulate their shed. I’m going to Emmaus with Friends Richard & Cathy, so I’ll see if I can pick up some cheap duvets/ blankets to help make the shed warmer for the winter.

Even though I didn’t get to do my ironing as I had hoped to do, we both feel that we’ve done Good and Useful Things today!

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Bits and bobs and 40 Acts (21 & 22)

Hello dear ones – thank you so much for your supportive and encouraging comments on my last post. They really helped me, and I appreciate the fact that you all took time to post a commernt. If you haven’t seen the comments from other people, I encourage you to go back & read them: they might help you too.

 

Yesterday I went for a short walk – a walk I’d probably do in 10 minutes took me about twice that time, and I felt quite breathless by the end of it. I will do the same today, straight after I’ve finished this post. I’m still sleeping more than normal – usually 10 – 11 hours a night, especially if I’ve taken an iboprofene. The “front door” is causing me some discomfort/pain when I lie on my side, I think because it’s getting squished up and pressed into the flesh, but that’s the side I feel most comfortable to sleep on. If I sleep on my back I get backache; if I sleep on my right side, my arthritic hip hurts! The iboprofene makes everything more comfortable, so I sleep better, but I don’t feel happy taking one every night!

Tonight we’re going to a birthday party – a 120th birthday party. But not for a very old person, but two 60 year olds! Of course, being French, it starts at 8 pm and is likely to go on until Lord-knows-when in the morning. It’s not considered a party in France if you’re not still awake when the cock crows! Thankfully, I have my illness as a perfect excuse to slip away at about 11.00 pm. “We would love to stay, but I’m afraid…” Mind you, the last big birthday party we went to they had only just served the main course at 11.00 pm, so we may not get the full meal!

Even though birthday cards aren’t really a French tradition, I have, of course, made one:

  

I hope they like it.

I don’t want to be too late to bed either, as I hope to make it to church tomorrow as well. A friend from church came over on Thursday, bringing me three hats she’d knitted for me – so, together with a lovely one that Michelle knitted, I am all set. Except my hair is showing no sign of falling out yet! I’ve got an appointment at a coiffeuse/wig shop on Tuesday too, but at the moment everything seems to be anchored to my scalp! Which might be a good thing aesthetically, but it makes me worry that the chemotherapy isn’t doing its job, as it should be killing off all the fast-growing cells, which include hair follicles and cancer cells. Oh well, I can always check up with the doctor on Thursday before my next session.

Onto 40 Acts:

ACT 21:: ACTION: Three weeks in – we’re halfway there! By now, generosity is probably sinking a little deeper into our lives. It’s a great time to put action behind our words. Think of moments when you’ve read or heard about something generous and thought, ‘That’s a nice idea,’ but never get around to doing it. Now’s the time. Only one act for today: What act have you put off over the last few weeks? What sounded like a good idea at the time, but you never got around to doing? Put it at the top of today’s to-do list.

Well, for me, the main act really is donating to Phone Credit for Refugees and Displaced Persons

This is a fantastic but tiny charity, started by one man, James. The website says: James came up with the idea while volunteering at the refugee camp in Calais known as The Jungle.  After talking regularly to people within the camp he realised that phone credit was a lifeline for many – and something he could help with from his home in Norfolk!

In the beginning, the process was very simple. James created a Facebook group, and added all his friends and some of the refugees he had met while volunteering. His goal was to have his close contacts provide phone credit to the handful of refugees he had come to know so well.

The group grew and grew, with his FB friends adding more friends, and they added more. Now over 64,000 members chip in when they can, donating £5, or more, to give credit to those who are desperate to contact their families left behind, or to contact aid agencies. This phone credit has saved the lives of vulnerable people, especially minors and women, so often targeted in camps.

Every Friday there is the Friday Conga, where everyone who can comments and donates (if possible), doing something important with FB algorithms that helps the group. I can’t always donate, I often forget to comment. But I’m going to make a concerted effort to start doing so. My Act 21 is to start saving 2€ coins, and when I have 10€ to make a donation. Can you afford to give a one-off donation to PC4R? This tells you how:

 

ACT 22: VALUED:: Today, a guaranteed way of making a difference. Talk up a service staff member. It’s such an easy chance to make a difference in someone’s day – but ask any service staff member, and you’ll hear how rarely it happens. Don’t let fear of insincerity put you off. A simple ‘You’re amazing, thank you for that!’ goes a long way when it’s well meant.  

I actually completed the Green task a couple of days ago, contacting the restaurant where we’d eaten on Saturday to compliment the waiter who had been very attentive to us. I certainly used to do this in the UK:  if I had received good service from a shop assistant I’d go to Customer Services, and say “I will complain if I receive bad service…” The face would fall “So equally I want to compliment good service…” The face would smile, and I would explain who had been helpful etc.

Sadly, France is not exactly the epitome of good customer service, with requests for help being met more often than not with a surly shrug. But I can still smile, and be polite and say Thank You to everyone who helps me, whether they do it with a smile or a shrug.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Thank you for reading!!

Act N°15 (2017): Influence & N°16: Beyond

Hello everyone. This is a catch up of the last two days’ Acts.

ACT 15: INFLUENCE

The prompt reads: We all have influence, even if we’re not aware of it. It’s not something reserved for limelight seekers. Influence is simply the impact we have on others that changes how they feel or act. Think about the areas of your life where you have a voice that’s listened to. You might be naturally sociable and have a wide network of friends, or have a close group of those who trust you. Wherever your influence is, use it wisely and generously today.

And the challenges were:

Not sure you have much influence in other people’s lives? Think about who you interact with on a daily, or weekly basis. How do you behave around them or on social media? Are there things you need to change? Could you make more of a conscious effort to engage with others more meaningfully?

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of large scale injustice or to switch off when it comes to national or international events. But you have influence that reaches much further than just those in your day-to-day. Take stock of what you feel passionate about. Can you write a letter, add your name to a campaign, share something on social media? Don’t file it away for later – do it now.

If you really want to go all out, publicise your cause/charity with an event. It may not happen today or this week, but you can get the ball rolling with inviting a speaker, and researching a venue. Make a big noise, and create some community memories to boot.

And you can read the whole meditation over here

****

I didn’t really have time to think about this yesterday, and even now, having given it a bit of thought, I am not sure quite what to make of it. I am aware of the influence I have – especially as a Lay Reader/Worship Leader and a teacher, and as a blogger – but I’m not quite sure about what that might mean in terms of interaction…I may need to unpack that a little more.

However, I have discovered that I am eligible to sign online petitions (or so it seems) with Amnestry International. When we moved to France AI told me I could no longer be a member of AI UK, & would have to join the French AI…which I never did. However, following a link from FB, I discovered several online petitions I could sign. So I did.

The other thing worth thinking about is the crowdfunding project for today. The “blurb” reads:16 million people in East Africa are on the brink of starvation and urgently need food, water and medical treatment. Today, we can all influence how this story unfolds.

The Disasters Emergency Committee launched their East African Crisis appeal on Wednesday. Their member charities are already delivering life-saving assistance in all affected countries. But, they need more money to help reduce the scale and severity of the crisis. When disaster strikes, Stewardship givers are often some of the first to respond.

Yes, I will donate here too. This is the influence that I have.

ACT 16: BEYOND

The prompt today read: Jesus didn’t settle for ‘just enough’ or the wine at the wedding would have been drinkable rather than top quality. So today, scale it up! Don’t measure out the generosity – go large.

The challenges were:

Has someone done you a good turn lately? Go out of your way to thank them with an extra twist of appreciation. Tell someone what a great job they’re doing – just because. Your turn for the washing up? Do the drying up too.

What does today hold for you? Watch out for generous opportunities and then knock it out the park for good measure. Find a way to bless someone over and above.

What’s the most extravagant present you’ve ever been given? If you went the whole hog, no expense spared, what similar thing could you do today for someone you know? This doesn’t have to be financial – use your imagination to be extravagant – but think creatively with whatever resources you have.

You can read the whole mediation over here.

So – what did I get up to?

Well, here’s a clue:

Mr FD is in Germany at the moment, celebrating his Uncle’s 85th Birthday. This past week, despite not working, and saying he’d do some cleaning  Mr FD didn’t, and the house has been looking a bit yucky, so I had been planning to do the cleaning today. But, oh, boy, was I resentful about it…?! Grumble, grumble, he should do it, it’s not fair etc.

But, with this challenge in mind, and Rend Collective on the CD player, I found that my mood changed and lifted. Instead of being grumpy, and thinking “Mr FD should be doing this” I became glad to be doing it so that he wouldn’t have to. (I do hope he notices & says thank you, though!!) I also did more than I’d been planning to do. It had been going to be a lick and a promise… (…that Mr FD would bloody well do it when he got home) but in fact I got right down to it. Three Rend Collective CDs later, the big downstairs room, the kitchen, dining room and sitting room are clean & tidy, and the first staircase cleared of fluff. Oh boy, the fluff!!!

Tomorrow I’ll be doing the second staircase, the landing, the cat trays and the bedroom & study. But my back is really rather painful, so I can’t do anymore now. Hot water bottle and a painkiller are – I hope! – working their magic.

I also want to thank M. Khodri, at ILS, for helping me feel a lot less panic stricken about a piece of bureaucracy and a nasty form to fill in. He was very kind, and helpful. I’m not sure what I can do – probably I will write a Thank You card – but I really appreciate what he did.

Act N°13 (2017) First Fruits

Yesterday was Chocolate Tuesday. I did indeed buy some bars of chocolate (PROPER bars of PROPER chocolate!) and a box of Ferrero Rocher.

I gave the bars to my students, to the secretary/receptionist at Axalta, (the company where I teach one of my students) and I left a couple of slabs in the lift on the way up to the CCI where I teach my other student. The box of FR I gave to the three women who work at the CCI. Frédérique declared herself “touched” and gave me a big kiss. And a Ferrero Rocher! Spreading joy (& possibly some confusion, as I’m not sure I explained it too well!) all around.

And today? Well, we go from the pleasure and simplicity of giving out chocolate to the thorny topic of money. And what you give. Or don’t.

The prompt reads: Money can be difficult to talk about when it comes to generosity. But thinking about how to treat others first, rather than what you’d spend the money on yourself – that can just drastically change your whole perspective on money. So, today’s act is about giving with our money. When money comes your way, what questions are you asking

And the challenges:

This isn’t about the size of your gift – it’s more about whether you prioritise money as a gift. We all have something we can give (even if for some it’s not financial). Put a note in your wallet or purse, reminding yourself that God’s inviting you to offer your best at every transaction. Or put a reminder in your phone for payday.

Who could you creatively gift today? Do you know someone who’s struggling with money? Put their need first and treat them with what you have. That could be dropping off some supermarket vouchers, covering a bus ticket, or taking them out for a meal/movie on you.

Take stock of your finances today: how much are you giving regularly? Are you giving regularly, or just as and when? Is today the day to set up your first financial gift? Or the day to increase it a little? If you want to get your financial giving in better shape this could be a good day to explore opening a Stewardship giving account.

You can read the whole meditation over here

I’m not sure why I feel less comfortable I feel talking about this than, for example, how much chocolate I bought…

I’m not a very organised giver, partly because our finances aren’t organised in the sense that – while we have some idea of how much I’ll earn in the month ahead – we’re not quite sure about the months after that. With Mr FD not earning at the moment, we need to be more careful. But I have my regular giving to church, my 2€ collection, and my Lend with Care account, which Keith kick started for me with a gift voucher, which I then matched. (But that’s not exactly giving, is it? That’s lending!!) I know that, in having a job, house, car, food, warmth, clothes etc. we are indeed among the richest 10% of the world. It just doesn’t feel like it sometimes!

But I’m not sure I fully understand what the Green challenge is asking us to do – does the note remind us to be more generous? What does it mean “God’s inviting you to offer your best at every transaction“? When I pay for my supermarket shop how do I “give my best”? Is it a case of when paying for the less essential items in your trolley (wine, biscuits, crisps…) you recognise how blessed/lucky I am to be able to buy non-essentials, just like that, and so you are grateful? I imagine that, in doing this, you begin to cling to your money less, and be more open to sharing it.

Maybe this one needs more thought. What do you think, dear readers?

 

Act N°2: Likewise

Thank you to everyone who viewed, liked, and commented on yesterday’s post. I appreciate your support, and hope that, during 40 Acts, I can support you too. It is good to feel part of a community all focussed on generosity – of gifts, resources, spirit. I know that some people feel discouraged if they don’t complete all the Challenges/Acts/Call-them-what-you-will, but in my first year of doing this, when I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t “done” one of the Acts, someone reminded me that while being generous to others, one needs to be generous to oneself – which means not beating yourself up if you don’t understand, or don’t get on with, or don’t do an Act. Think of what you are doing globally – even if you miss 5 or 6 of the challenges, you are still adding to the pool of generosity and good in this world…and you can always catch up after Easter!

So, on to today’s Challenge: The prompt reads

We tend to think of generosity as a spontaneous thing. Off the cuff. A quick cup of coffee for a homeless person on the way to work. A gift of money when a relative falls into difficulty. High-fiving a stranger on the Tube. (Maybe.) But if spontaneity is our only mode of generosity, we shut ourselves off from some powerful displays of kindness. Planning ahead removes those limits and unlocks something extraordinary. You prepare yourself to be the solution to problems you haven’t even encountered yet.

You can read the full meditation here

The Acts are:

GREEN: Keep one helpful thing on your person at all times this Lent. Something small – a trolley coin, a pack of tissues, chewing gum, extra locker money. Be ready to give it away.

AMBER: Create a kit of things that are personal to your situation – whether it’s a spare umbrella, a trolley coin, a snack pack or an inflatable life-raft – think of the things you might appreciate and put a kit together for others.

RED: Create a kit of things you’d probably never normally carry around, for people you’d never usually connect with. This might be an emergency kit for homeless people (you can find great examples of what to include in them online). Ask God for the opportunity to meet someone who needs it.

There’s also a “Crowd funding” act linking to a charity I’d never heard of, called Acts 435 which is a charity which supports small individual requests for help, all advocated and checked out to be genuine.

So how am I going to face these challenges?

I’va already started collecting 2€ pieces, whenever I get them in my change. These go into a special purse in my bag, so when I see someone begging, I have some resources to give them, or to buy a bag of food for them. I must admit to dipping into it myself though when I’ve discovered I’ve not got enough change for the bread! Shame faced look!

Last winter I did have a few hats & scarves stashed in the car to give to anyone who was homeless – but actually, having done that, I didn’t see anyone! But that doesn’t mean I won’t in future. I think that to complete this Act, I will continue with the 2€ piece collection, and also try to be more open to listening to God reminding me of things I have that I can give away when the opportunity arises.

The one thing I will do, straight after this, is go to Lend With Care…in January Keith very kindly awarded me a £15 voucher to invest, and I promised that I would match this. Procrastination being one of the things on my list yesterday (together with laziness!) I shall metaphorically put Satan behind me, and immediately get on with making the final decision & investment.

I look forward to reading what other people are getting up to.

See you tomorrow! But, because I am working tomorrow, I probably won’t get the chance to blog about it until the evening – or even until Saturday. I will try to do a quick call-in on FB though.

PS I’m not sure why this has gone all long and thin. I imagine it’s something to do with me copying and pasting from the 40 Acts site. Perhaps I just need to link to the site, rather than trying to paste the prompts into my blog post…Hmm. Techno idiot strikes again!

A mammoth task – and some words of wisdom.

I have finished sorting out the photos on my computer!

Instead of being in date order I have now classified them into Subject folders – which makes life much easier! Instead of guessing when that photo might have been taken I can (should be able to…) go to the appropriate folder. Particularly useful if I want pictures of the cats as they were all over the place!

In the process I came across lots of photos of Dear George – although Jasper-Cat is lovely, we still miss our George so much!

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Still, what can one do?!

Of course, this will only be a success if I continue to classify the photos as I save them! Otherwise I’ll end up with a backlog again…This is rather typîcal of me, I’m afraid, I sort out something, but then fail to keep up with it – my craft shelves, my ESL resources, my paperwork etc. Never mind. Let’s see what happens.

And now… WORDS OF WISDOM I:

Here’s an interesting thought, garnered when listening to a snippet of The Infinite Monkey Cage, a BBC Radio programme that Mr FD enjoys. Rufus Hound, a comedian, pointed out that…

If you mock failure, you mock trying, and therefore discourage experimentation.

 I thought this was really worth noting down. So often people do mock failure, but as we know, if one’s efforts are denigrated, then next time one is less likely to try as hard. I certainly found that when teaching in primary school. Support a child who is making efforts – even if they are not succeeding – and they are willing to continue making efforts. Denigrate what they are doing, and they will soon stop trying. It happens here too – mock my efforts at speaking French and I won’t bother. Encourage me, and I’ll keep trying!

 WORDS OF WISDOM II:

On the Kermode & Mayo Film Reveiw programme on Radio 5, there is a running theme that Mark Kermode says reassuring words “Everything is going to be okay”. However, it was felt that Tom Hanks would be even more reassuring, with his lovely voice, so they asked him to say reassuring things (I can’t find a clip on t’internet. Sorry)

However on Friday night’s “The Last Leg” the wonderful David Tennant was asked to be reassuring – in the face of the world news – and tell us that everything was going to be okay. Which he did, admirably (though using some slightly smutty language) but the words that stood out most for me were…

It’s up to us to make it okay. It’s time to be positively rebellious and rebelliously positive…

There were other such epithets – it’s worth watching

…if only for David Tennant’s lovely accent!

This is it. Back to Ang’s words

I want to have the courage to speak out for what is true and just
I want to have the strength to stop and help those in need, not pass by on the other side
I want to have the faith to say ‘this is wrong, and we can work to change it for the better’
I want to have the hope that believes things will be different
and above all
I want to have the love that says ‘OK you are different from me in some way – but I still care about you, and want the best for you’

I want to be positively rebellious and rebelliously positive.

I want to live a different way.

Lend With Care – help me choose!

For a couple of years I have been interested in this charity, but never done anything about it! A blogging acquaintance who lives quite near us, Keith, has even written a guest post about it during 40 Acts in 2014.

Here I reproduce his words, so you know what the charity does:

I spent a couple of years during the early 1980s living and working in Africa, specifically in Nigeria in the west and Tanzania in the east. I recently saw a comment from one of my on-line friends, who told of his decision to become involved in a micro-financing initiative with Care International. I looked at the web site (lendwithcare.org) and immediately found that I could make a difference to a family in Africa – shades of bicycle fundi. If you ask me really nicely, I shall go into what that means and, more particularly, what it means to me, at a later date.

When in Nigeria, I was often overwhelmed by the number of beggars in the streets. Clearly, I couldn’t help all of them. Were I to give one cent to each of a hundred beggars, it would have had no impact, but if I gave a Naira to one man, it would have enabled him to buy a meal. That would have made a difference, and that is part of the reason I support Lendwithcare.

For a small investment, which will be repaid, provided the business doesn’t fail, we can contribute to the success of a small entrepreneur in Africa (or Asia, or South America) and help that person to lift a family out of poverty. When the loan is repaid, it can immediately be applied to another applicant. This arrangement appeals to me on two levels:

  1. This is not buying a man a fish, this is not even teaching a man to fish; this is lending a man the money to buy fishing tackle – he already knows how to fish, and
  2. We know whom it is helping.

When you sign up with Lendwithcare, you have access to a list of people who need funding. Behind each individual or group is a story, explaining what the person or group is aiming to do, how much cash they need to do it, and what the prospective outcome is. That makes it personal, and that’s good.

Loan amounts start at only £15. You will be told when the loan you are helping to provide is fully funded and there will be a repayment schedule. Repayments will be made to your account with Lendwithcare, from where you can use it to make another loan, donate it to Lendwithcare to help with their running costs, or transfer it back to your own bank.

We are, so far, helping three people: two men in Togo, one of whom wishes to grow his small vehicle spares business, the other needs to repair his truck so he can get back to work and provide for his family; and a lady in Ecuador, who wishes to expand her small grocery store to include a restaurant. When those three repay, that money can be re-circulated back to three new entrepreneurs – it just keeps on working.

Although we applaud, and support, other charities, none gives us quite the personal involvement that this one does. It goes beyond “your money will help people like Jim”, and says “your money will help Jim”. I commend it to anyone who will listen.

Every year, Keith and his wife Clare, offer some gift vouchers for people to take part in supporting an entrepreneur. I was lucky enough to receive one this year, & pledged that I would match it. So I have two lots of £15 to invest, and I’d like my readers to be involved.

I have chosen 6 possible people to invest in – I’d like people to help me choose by saying who they think I should support.

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Mr. Sokhom is 38 years old.  He is married and has two children, 9 and 11 years old.  They are at school. Sokhom lives in Kamrieng District of Battambang Province and grows ed cassava on ten hectares. In ten months he will get a yield of 30 tons per hectare. He has been farming cassava for the last 10 years and he knows there is ongoing demand. He hires around 30 villagers to assist him on planting and chopping the cassava root and each of them earns $5 a day.  Sokhom is applying for a loan to purchase commercial fertilizer, pesticide, weed killer, ploughing costs (one hectare costs $100) and to pay wages of the 30 villagers he hires.

I CHOSE HIM BECAUSE HE IS EMPLOYING OTHERS

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Gloria Angamarca lives in the community of La Esperanza, Cantón Ibarra. She is married and has two adult daughters who have families of their own now as well. Gloria has been making roof tiles for houses for 20 years now, with her husband as her business partner. Now, she is applying for a loan in order to start making special roof tiles with a special finish that are in high demand. She needs the loan in order to buy firewood as fuel for the oven and to hire two people who will help her daily. Gloria has managed over the years to build up and keep a large and varied client base who go to her with their needs, as other artisans don’t produce the same kind of tiles as her. Gloria is committed to paying back this loan in 18 months.

I CHOSE GLORIA AS SHE IS A WOMAN WORKING IN A CRAFTS BUSINESS; SHE ALSO WANTS TO EMPLOY OTHERS.

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Pedro Ochoa lives in the neighbourhood of Santa Bertha in the Imbabura region. He lives with his wife and their 4 children. He is employed by a company as a bird feeder, but his salary is minimal, so he decided to start raising pigs as an additional income.
Pedro has requested a loan to be repaid over 18 months. He will invest $900 buying 16 piglets and $600 in feed for the animals. In 4 months they will be ready to sell, which will be a significant income for him. Pedro saw an opportunity to raise animals, and a few months ago built a trough for them. He hopes to continue raising them, expand the pig pen and save more capital.  What he wants is that his children can have a more promising future, and this is why he supports them in their studies.

I CHOSE PEDRO BECAUSE HIS BUSINESS IS ONE THAT CAN MULTIPLY & FINANCE ITSELF WITH SOME INVESTMENT. AND I LIKE PIGS.

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Favour is a large group with 19 members, based in the Katete district of Eastern Zambia.  The average size loan for the women of this group is $205 USD.  They run small scale businesses like salaula (second hands clothes), selling shoes and grocery stalls. They started their businesses mainly to provide for their families including the provision of food and payment of school fees for their children. In most cases, the women care for orphans from deceased relatives or members of the community. (Malaria and HIV are the main causes of mortality in the region.) The group has accessed three loans from the MicroLoan Foundation and this will be their fourth loan. One of these women is Rachel Banda. She is 38 years old and has five children who go to school. She runs a grocery stall selling bathing soap, washing soap, sugar, assorted biscuits and assorted drinks. She would like this loan to top up on her business capital and order more stock for her grocery stall. She has found the MicroLoan Foundation training useful, in particular the section on setting savings goal. She believes it will help her achieve what she wants for her business. From the profits she hopes to build a house for her children.  the loan will be repaid in 6 months,

I CHOSE THIS GROUP, AS THEY ARE BASED IN ZAMBIA, AS RECOGNITION OF THE WORK OUR FRIEND RICHARD HAS DONE IN ZAMBIA. ALSO, IT IS A GROUP SUPPORTING WOMEN.

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Abakorerahamwe CARE Group which can translate “Those who work together” is a voluntary savings and loan group created by Care Rwanda in 2012. The group is made of 25 members: 15 women and 10 men. The group needs this loan in order to buy more sheep and goats for resell, this way, the group members will have money to pay school fees for their children, and they will also buy seeds to do good farming. On average, the group members have five children.  Mrs Martha Uwizeyimana, a group member, (3rd lady from left to right in the picture, green dress with large flowers) explains that they came together after seeing positive change from her neighbours who had joined CARE Rwanda. She attended CARE’s financial literacy program and there, she met other actual group members. They started saving as small as $0.25/week. In the future, they would like to be a registered cooperative, and they would like the members to continue their income generating activities and pay health insurance and school fees for their children. They will repay the loan in six months

ANOTHER GROUP SUPPORTING EACH OTHER & HELPING THEIR MEMBERS TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES

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Ameer Hamza is 20 years of age and runs a tandoor (an oven usually made of bricks or clay, common in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries). He makes and sells naans and chapattis – locally eaten flat-breads – at the tandoori. He works from a shop that he owns and has been running the tandoori for almost two years. His monthly income is 17,000 Rupees ($162), on average. Ameer Hamza is single and lives with his parents and four siblings.  Two brothers and two sisters. Only his youngest sister is receiving education currently. His older brother also works with him at the naan shop. With the responsibility to provide for his parents and siblings, his monthly earnings are extremely insufficient to provide for them adequately. Hamza wants to expand his business by increasing his production of naans. However, he lacks an appropriate capital to invest in his business and has therefore requested a loan. He needs to buy additional quantities of all-purpose flour and other materials to increase his production of naans and chapattis. He is confident that he can manage to increase his sales and consequently his profits after improving his output. He promises to repay the loan in 17 installments.

THIS YOUNG MAN IS STRUGGLING TO SUPPORT HIS FAMILY SO I WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT HIM. I LIKE NAAN BREAD TOO.

So, I ask my readers to help me choose… If you’d like to name two of the candidates, that you think I should support in the comments section below, I will count up the “nominations” at the end of the month and I’ll invest in the most popular two. So please DON’T JUST “LIKE” THIS BLOGPOST: MAKE A COMMENT TOO!

Thank you for your help!