A few weeks ago, we met with a child named Charlie and his mother in their home to gather a story for Mosaic. We wrote about how excited Charlie was to go to the day center in a blog that week; however, something else happened on that visit.
Charlie’s mother told her story, and through the story we heard the daily struggles that she endures. The photo below is of the house that Charlie’s mother rents for her and her children. She struggles to make enough money to pay the rent. Last year, she received a microcredit loan through BCC to sell fruit in her neighborhood. She paid back her loan in a timely manner. However, income did not continue. Currently, everyone in her community is having a difficult time financially because the crops are not doing well this season. She said that she tried to continue her business after she paid back the loan, but it failed because no one could afford to purchase the fruit in her community.
While we were listening to this story, Melissa started thinking about how we might assist Charlie’s mother. His mother is a smart, young, energetic woman that simply needs a good opportunity to support her family. A few months ago our friend, Deb, showed the Pasua cooperative how to make earrings and necklaces out of scrap sewing material and bottle caps. Since then, the Pasua cooperative has been working hard to complete beading orders and does not have time to work on the earrings and necklaces, Melissa asked Charlie’s mother if she would be interested in making those items. She smiled and said she was!
Last week we walked along the double road (which is the only four-lane road in Moshi, so it is called the “double road”) and asked seamstresses along the road if they would give us their scrap material. Many women were more than happy to give away material that they would throw away anyway. We walked away with our arms full of fabric! We had been saving our bottle caps for the Pasua cooperative, so we gave the bottle caps and the scrap material to Charlie’s mother. We visited her house to show her how to make the earrings and she was thrilled! She said, “I never knew I could make earrings out of scrap material.” She will create a few samples for us to see and then she will start production.
Our mothers are visiting soon and want to purchase some of the earrings and necklaces for their friends, so there is already a temporary market for Charlie’s mom! We think that if BCC continues to sell these items to volunteers and a local tourist shops, Charlie’s mother will have consistent income that will compliment her day laboring and help her better support her children.
When we were leaving Charlie’s mother, she was very happy. Genevieve, the BCC Health/Education Coordinator, asked why she was so happy. Charlie’s mother said she was so happy because she thought she would finally be able to feed her children.