Meet Jane Wangari, a 47-year-old business woman and borrower with SISDO one of MYC4’s providers. Jane and her husband have been farmers all their lives but turned it in to a serious business when her husband retired in 2000. They have a five acre land where they do their farming and this is also where their family house is. Farming is what they know how to do best and they have seen it take them to greater heights. The farm is located in Kimende in Limuru, Kenya. Wangari is also the chair lady in her lending group, called Kirimaini, which consists of 13 members. MYC4, together with SISDO’s Limuru branch manager and a loan officer, went to visit Wangari at her farm. When she sees us with her loan officer, Mr. Lazarus, who she refers to as Mwalimu (teacher in Kiswahili), she is very happy. Wangari is a jovial woman, you can see it in the way she welcomes us to her compound.
Where is the cow?
We discover that she has a broken leg, and she explains that she broke the leg as she slipped while working. This however, she says, does not stop her from doing her work; it just slows her a bit. She has taken a polythene paper and a cloth to cover her leg as she walks around and does her work. She also has a chair nearby just in case she gets tired. Her determination has enabled her perform her normal duties and attend her group meetings regardless of the broken leg.
Wangari has borrowed €1,468 to buy a high breed cow so as to increase milk production and hence boost her business. The demand for milk has grown and many of her customers are demanding for more litres of milk. She also wanted to employ extra help as the work in the farm and with the cows has increased because she has purchased another land elsewhere for cabbage and carrot farming. Looking around the cow shed, we only see two cows but cannot see the high breed cow, so we ask her where the cow is. She explains that, with her broken leg, she has been unable to bring the cow home, so she talked with the seller of the cow to keep it for her until her leg gets better.
Her business entails selling of milk; she takes 20 litres of milk to a nearby factory every day and they pay her 30 shs per litre (€0.25). On a good day they pay 35 shs per litre, (€0.30). She also supplies in the local shops and sells to customers who come to buy for their own consumption. She farms potatoes, spinach, carrots and cabbages for sale. The harvest has been good this season and Jane is estimating 50,000 shs (€431) for the sale of the cabbages she has planted in a quarter acre plot. She has also harvested potatoes and beans which she has spread on a canvas sheet on the ground to dry. Her husband was not home during the visit. He had gone to look for market for the potatoes and the cabbages and was going to come back in the evening. Wangari has three children, two daughters and a son. She has educated her children and they now have good jobs. Her business has enabled her to take care of her family as well as educate her children.
“The girls are all married and in their husbands’ homes raising their family. The boy is also working and you can see, he is putting up his house. We are so proud of our children and most grateful to SISDO, they have enabled us to improve our farming business. We eat, clothe and educate because of SISDO.”
After finishing paying for the current loan, Wangari plans of taking another loan to start a poultry farm and business. She has seen her friend do well in the business, and the friend has promised to help her start the business and advice her on how to take care of the special breed called Kenbro. This, she says, will enable her to grow her farm business even more. Wangari gets up to prepare some tea for us, but we cannot wait for the tea to be ready as we have another borrower waiting for us at our next visit in Ngecha, a few kilometres from Wangari’s farm – and it is not good to keep business men waiting.