Hey, Soul Sisters!

14 February 2011 at 15:00 7 comments

By Mei-ing Cheok, KF14, Ghana

Let me  boldly proclaim that everyone in the developed world should experience what Kiva Fellows are fortunate enough to live and breathe. I guarantee you there will be less whining from all of us and perhaps, just perhaps, more effort to collectively improve the lives of our fellow humans…maybe. But definitely less whining, because when you see what we get to see, all our problems suddenly seem so small.

Watresa Village

On my first day out in the field, we drove to Watreso Village, about an hour from the office. Watreso is made up of a few houses, some made of mud, some cement and a few – newer ones – made of bricks. We’re there for the weekly credit association meeting run by Dominic, a loan officer with the Christian Rural Aid Network. This credit association, the AB/ADOM ARA KWA group is made up of 10 women. I got to speak to nine of them and I have since christened them the Soul Sisters because their stories are truly food for the soul: women trying to make ends meet and make a better life for themselves and their children.

Soul Sisters: AB/Adom Ara Kwa Credit Association with CRAN Loan Officer, Dominic

What struck me was the women’s enthusiasm and eagerness to attend these meetings. They were not receiving handouts; they had to repay these loans in order to borrow again. And if one of them defaulted on the loan, the others had to pay on her behalf. This was good peer pressure. Akua Darkoah, a sprightly older woman, ran towards me, talking excitedly in Fanti (their local language) and then threw an arm around me. How’s that for a welcome?!

Akua Darkoah's dazzling smile

As I spoke to each of them, the reason for their enthusiasm became crystal clear: they had all benefited from the loans and their lives had improved. Ama Assabea who sells used clothing, was the first to arrive. She sells her goods, walking  from village to village – and that’s a LONG, hot and dusty journey. With her loan, she’s been able to add to her inventory. The profits from her increased business have not only helped feed and put the kids through school, her family can now look forward to a house to live in.

Ama Asaaba with her baby in front of her new home.

Afia Boma used to only mend and sew clothing for people in her village. Through her micro loan, she was able to buy fabrics to make clothes for sale. Her kids are now able to go to a better school in the neighbouring village. With her added income, Afia bought a fridge to start a side business of selling soft drinks from her sewing shop. When I asked to see her fridge, she took me to her shop and presented it to me proudly. She opened the fridge to show me the contents … and the whole door came off. Back home, that fridge would have been dumped and replaced long ago. Afia beamed at me. That was truly a  humbling moment.

Afia in her shop, with her newly acquired fridge.

Meeting the borrowers in the flesh and hearing their stories is a great way to see that the loans Kiva lenders provide really do change lives. Since not everyone can take the time off to do this, Kiva Fellows continue to bring it to life in your homes, through our blogs. And we hope that it makes a difference in your lives.

the ladies, in the middle of their weekly credit association meeting

To read find out more about each ‘Soul Sister’, click on their names below:

Akuah Darkoah

Serrah Apperkoh

Adwoa Aduwa

Ama Krumah

Maame Afia Bruwah:

Akua Gyemfuag

Afia Boma

Yaa Boahemaa

Ama Asaabea 

Mei-ing is a Kiva Fellow with Kiva Field Partner, Christian Rural Aid Network (CRAN). She is itching to back out in the field again to bring you more stories.

Find out more about how you can lend to an entrepreneur or join the Kiva Fellows Programme.

Entry filed under: Africa, blogsherpa, Christian Rural Aid Network (CRAN), Ghana, KF14 (Kiva Fellows 14th Class). Tags: , , , , , .

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