Monday, February 1, 2010

Mutual Benefit Societies

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. I've been loaned the use of a high-speed internet, on which I can post more than one picture at a time. Which means that I can tell you about our meetings with the Mutual Benefit Societies in both Rubingo and Kikagati. These are the groups into which the widows and grandmothers have organized themselves, and it is from these groups that the members of the Bitengye Designers were chosen. They garden together, raise goats together, and share their meagre resources amongst themselves. In Rubingo we met with the leaders of the eight smaller groups (they have a

total of 190 members in all eight groups), and they gave us a little history on all the activities they have been engaged in together, reported on how much money they have saved in order to renew the lease on the garden they have rented, about told us their concerns regarding such things as school fees and access to treatment for those who are HIV positive. In Kikagati over 200 women came out to meet us with singing and dancing, and then gave reports on all their activities. These are brave and courageous women, who are willing to do almost anything to give their family a hand up in the world.

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