Monday, August 29, 2011

Natopojo Women’s Group

I’m not sure if it was pressure from the women or the Holy Spirit, but I agreed to help the Natopojo Women’s Group begin their quarry project with two sets of tools. They’d indicated that with one set of tools and four men for a day they could produce four loads of stones and thus 160,000 UGX. Theoretically, they could purchase another set of tools every day until each woman had her own.

We returned to the hardware store to make the purchase only to discover that the items quoted were not of the caliber needed for such strenuous work. One of the women was brought to the store to guide the selection of proper materials. The prices were all much higher than originally budgeted, but I’d already made the commitment to support their efforts with two sets of equipment. Press on.

Sledge hammer           50,000
Long iron lever            40,000
Spade                          10,000
Pick axe                       15,000
Pick axe handle             2,500
Chisel                          15,000
4 Men (work 1 day)    20,000
Total                          152,500 UGX (about $75 USD) per set

After purchasing what was available locally and ordering what needed to be brought from Kampala, we had an honest conversation about how the group would share these limited resources. Actually, I lectured
 them a bit about how that first day they received a payment they might be tempted to use the money in many ways. I reminded them that if they made that choice, all the ladies sitting next to them would go hungry. We then talked about how if they used that money to food all the ladies rather than allowing them to sustain themselves as they had in the past for just a few more days they would again deprive the group of future success.

They all seemed to understand, but I will pray that they truly do. I encouraged them to expect me to return and that I also expected to find that each lady had her own set of tools. At the same time, the number of things that can go wrong with this plan are enormous and entirely unknown.  Please pray with me that this project does more good than harm.