Last night I ran out of steam and couldn’t write about what might turn into something important: I learned yesterday that one of our volunteers, Matt Chapman, has floated the idea of lending the villagers as much as ten thousand dollars of his own money so they can start a simple manufacturing business. Matt first suggested broom making since he had seen women stooping to sweep the interiors of some of the huts we have visited—using brooms made of local materials although without handles. Yet he realizes that he knows next to nothing about other ready-to-hand materials or about local or regional needs and that he should talk more to the villagers about these things, or ask Joas to talk to them after we leave for Babati—and then safari and then home—tomorrow. Anyway, Matt’s offer pleases Marianne and me because, even though we have thought quite a bit about the need to generate income among the villagers, so far we have no plan.
He set aside his broom manufacturing idea quickly once nobody bit. And now Paul, the head teacher at Ufani School, has interested Matt in lending the villagers money to buy pigs. Paul impressed Matt with chapter-and-verse knowledge of pig farming and struck him as a possible local point man for such a project. Matt has found no takers yet, however. Each of the two village men he has had a chance to talk to about pig farming has said, yes, there’s good money in it, but no thank you: way too much work.
But it’s early in the game and Matt seems determined.—Don Stoll