08 February 2016

home visits of young mothers in mahina and bugarika.

Sometimes it takes a face. 

When you see another person you can feel their humanness. If you meet them, you experience them in some way. Tanzanians know very well the importance of relationships: visiting and spending time with family, friends, neighbors and even complete strangers. It is a beautiful gift that Tanzania has given us.

young mother named happiness with her daughter and two parents.

With the start of a new year, I resolved to spend more time in my ministry visiting young mothers outside of the seminars and saving and loaning groups that I manage, be it in their home or place of business. Part of the motivation is to carry out the necessary monitoring and evaluation of the Young Mothers Entrepreneurship and Group Enterprise project that I run at Education for Better Living Organization (EBLI). The other part is to experience their humanity.

With regards to the former, field visits help me gauge the efficacy of the project and to make improvements to better serve the young mothers. Practically, I visit them in their place of business to provide coaching on how to improve their management, marketing, customer service, etc. Regarding the latter, such visits better enable me to share in a small way the reality of their life. For example, visiting them in their homes - on their turf. 

Recently, Lucy (my co-facilitator of business training) and I visited the homes of 11 young mothers who have recently begun studying computers at EBLI and will later enter into business training. All live in the Mahina and Bugarika neighborhoods of Mwanza. The aim was (1) to understand where each young mother lives to help communication, (2) to see firsthand their life condition, (3) to build relationship among the young mothers, and (4) request the cooperation of parents/guardians in ensuring that each young mother arrives each day to study computers and business. At each home, we sat with the parents and reiterated these goals, and ended with a family photo with their permission. 

While each young mother expected us, many of the parents did not. Yet, without exception, each home welcomed us with great joy and wanted to prepare a meal for us because to them all guests are a blessing, never an unexpected burden or nuisance.

Below is a gallery of photos from our visit. Look at the faces. These are the folks I am fortunate to interact with on a daily basis. Each face bears its share of hope and struggle. What the photos do not capture is how unimaginably difficult it was to reach each of their homes, abandoning the car on a broken road and climbing over rock surfaces using all four limbs to aid in our ascent and descent. Imagine doing that in the rain with a child strapped to your back and basket of food on your head!

happyness with her child.

naomi with her son and mother.

happyness with her son and mother.

asante with her child and mother.

farida with her son and father.

nancy with her father.

martha with her son and parents.

jenapha with her child and mother.

neema with her son and mother.

debora with her grandparents.

selection of girls from our ninth batch of young mothers attending computer literacy and business skills training.

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