Imagine living in a place where credit is not available, where you cannot get a scholarship to go to school; the only food, clothes or education you can afford is what you have the money for RIGHT NOW. This is the setting for the amazing experience that I had at loan distribution day. Today we handed out loans to 34 eager women in the remote village of Bumasheti. The women greeted us with beautiful song and dance that included loud pitch screams, clapping and love. After introductions, we had the pleasure of handing out their loans. As each women came up, they each responded in their own unique way: some simply smiled and thanked us, while others came up dancing and gave us each humongous hugs. Imagine if every time we used a credit card in the US we broke out in song and dance. What if, when we received a loan for college we gave everyone around us a huge hug. A micro loan is simply access to financial capital. It is nothing new to the world, but it is something new to these women.
With their loan and three days of business training they have received, these women have changed. They are now business women. After spending five days in this amazing country, I have learned many things and continue to be confounded by what I see. They are strong and hard working, but they have no safety nets to fall back on (none at all). All they need is a little help (help that honestly we were granted at birth in the US). I am excited to see what these women can do and I know that their resourcefulness will allow them to make the changes that they wish to see in their own lives.