Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Field Trip Continued…
By the time we arrived at the Mount Kenya Safari Club to spend the night, it was after 9:30PM. We saw an incredible lightening show through the last half of the trip and Mt Kenya was highlighted during many of the strikes. It was a very powerful vision. The club was originally owned by William Holden (famous actor in the 1950s) and a few of his friends. This historic club is situated on the Equator at the foot of Mt. Kenya. The members and visitors before it became a Fairmont Hotel were royalty, heads of state as well as stars of stage and screen. They have an extensive animal orphanage on sight as well. We had a late breakfast and I have a picture of Susan, the Outreach Director of Jamii Bora before we left to an office in Nanyuki.
We met Nancy who was recently robbed because she sits alone in a small office without the benefit of the bullet proof glass or other safety features of a regular bank. Her office was next to the new Nakumatt (Kenya’s Wal-Mart). I thought Joy, Jewel and Genie (all from Whole Planet Foundation) would like to see a supermarket and they will have much to share with their teammates when they return. We then started the last leg of our journey to visit one of the newer branches opened last September in the Embu District.
The branch manager was a young man (most are older women) and he had a different perspective when it came to his clients because he wanted to bring in more young people and does a big outreach at local schools and organizations with 18-25 year old. We met some of their clients but one young woman spoke very eloquently about why she became a member. At first she did not believe the concept of Jamii Bora was “on the level” and was very skeptical. It took a few months and her girl friends explaining how they saved and were able to get a 10,000 shilling loan. She finally talked to the people in this branch and because it looked just like a bank, she thought her savings would be safe and she found five other friends to join with her. She almost has enough savings to get her first loan. I was glad to hear this story because so much of what I hear are the immediate successes and now I know they can explain the program and concept to all and make it available through the outreach programs.
I am sorry to say I did not take an extra memory card so I have no photos of this part of the trip but you can go to the Whole Planet site to see many. It was another long and emotional day but I would not have missed it! The van dropped us off at the Fairview around 7:30PM and we said goodbye to Susan. We look forward to her visit to the USA in July. I leave tomorrow but The Whole Planet Team will have some one-on-one time with Ingrid Munro.
I will write my reflections of the trip when I return home on Friday.