A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES

It is morning again.

Heavy clouds are looming over the horizon, a clear indication it will be raining soon. She hurriedly performs her morning chores, takes a fast bath and puts on her blue cardigan sweater and her eight piece black skirt. She combs her hair backwards and pins it in a tight pony tail. Using a tiny mirror assesses her reflection, tilting the mirror to the right ,left  and upwards trying to get a 360 view!

With a slight touch of Vaseline on her lips she locks the door behind her, she does it a bit loudly that a cow grazing nearby raises its head a bit startled by the bang. Clearly she is in a hurry.

She sets off for the women’s meeting(chama).

For this particular day they had agreed to arrive a bit earlier since they would be receiving some visitors from the bank who will be training them on matters finances, table banking, savings , financial management and all…honestly she has outdone herself in matters timing, she is forty minutes early! They say the early bird catches the worm and one wonders what the worm is in this particular scenario…but she knows better, she is the wearer of her own shoe.

She really looks forward to the experience and hopes it will be an eye opener to her and her mates .Since the women at her society  began the table banking endeavor, their lives have started changing for the better, slowly but surely.

So far they have learnt a lot from the different trainers who visit them now and then.

Some time ago they learnt the art of soap making which they are currently utilizing .

They now make soaps, weave baskets from local materials and sell the stuff amongst themselves and their neighbors. They plan on expanding  their market as they progress. So far they are on the right footing and that is what matters.

As she walks past mama Mboi’s homestead she sights her tethering her goats.

“hey ,Mama Mboi, aren’t you coming to chama today?

“but of course yes? I am just finishing up tethering these goats, I will catch up with you ‘wa Nduu’.”

Mama Nduu then notices that Mama Mboi is currently walking in a ‘ndombolo’ style( the millenials would mistake her walking style to doing the azonto dance)

“what happened to your leg? Last I saw yesterday, you were fine.”

“oh this leg? You are asking! I slipped and fell soon after we parted ways, I will be alright in no time…the pain has subsided already…”

With that mama Nduu disappears  in the bend.

Mama Mboi hurries so she can catch up with them in time. The chama rules are clear, penalty for late coming and she is not ready to part with a single dime to pay for some penalty! That is one rule that has kept them under check.

Mama Mboi limbs slowly towards their usual venue and as she does she notices that her other neighbor, mama Shii’s farm is well tended and the coffee trees are blooming with flowers. They look so beautiful and promising, most definitely she will have a bountiful harvest. She inwardly wishes hers looked the same way though in reality they are not bad off. The grass usually tends to be greener on the other side!

She makes a mental note to consult her on what she did to make her coffee trees so productive. She might borrow a leaf or two from her and save herself from the normal grievous ordeal of losses she undergoes every other season. If the status quo remains , the future of herself and her children will be jeopardized but she knows her defiant spirit will not allow that to happen.

Today is her turn for contributions, an activity they undertake on a merry go round basis and her stomach is already churning with excitement! As the sun goes down her pockets will be a little fuller and that translates to better days for her family! Her emotions are already on a roller coaster motion and why wouldn’t they, she has had her better share of tough days.

By 9.00 AM all women are assembled, chatting about this and that amidst the usual gossip segment, occasionally bursting out with laughter. They conduct their usual business as they wait for their guest to arrive and soon he arrives and their special engagement for the day takes off.

The women are really happy to gain more knowledge on how to manage their finances amongst other things, self confidence? sharing? networking? time management? Yes all that and much more.

Their journey to becoming financially independent is on the proper and due course, after all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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