Tanzania Diary: August 13 (morning)

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 visitedusing 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

 

Is Matt (foreground) contemplating pig farming as he helps build Ufani School's new latrine?

 

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About Don Stoll

Don and his wife, Marianne Kent-Stoll, are co-founders of the Karimu International Help Foundation. They established Karimu in 2008 at the request of the people of Dareda Kati Village, in the Manyara Region of northeastern Tanzania. Karimu is devoted to working with the residents of Dareda Kati in order to satisfy their development needs, as defined by the villagers themselves.
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2 Responses to Tanzania Diary: August 13 (morning)

  1. Julian says:

    We are running a community based pig farming project, so if Matt wants any advice or thoughts on how one might progress, the Livingstone Tanzania Trust would again be more than happy to assist.
    What Matt might also consider is working with the coffee collective who are dependant on the banks for working loans and also would benefit from a store so as not to be at the whim of world coffee prices. Since this is an established business, it might be a better deal.
    I would always recommend making loans rather than gifts for such projects. If it is a loan the business will be taken far more seriously and they will be determined to make it a success. I would also recommend a small amount for the initial loan. perhaps the difference could be gifted to books or teacher training?
    What is fantastic though is that the work you are doing is inspiring so many people both at home and in Bacho

    • Don Stoll says:

      Thank you for reminding me of the coffee collective, Julian—you mentioned it during our first evening in Babati but it didn’t register fully after our exhausting journey from California, and then it got lost in the constant shuffle of all our other business in the village.

      This is all tentative, of course, so I hope what I wrote does not give the impression that Matt has carved his name in a stone contract to lend money to the villagers. But we appreciate the fact that he has even thought about making such a loan because he understands business much better than Marianne and I do.

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