Tuesday (14 June) was a very enriching day. We had a profitable morning discussion of the proposed governance and operations policies for the Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center (LCRC). Students raised very good questions about access, cost of services, and sustainability. After lunch in Nyegina, we had a chance for first time booting of the computers we will use for training teachers on Thursday. All went smoothly. Then we moved to Etaro to observe elections of community group members to the new UMABU governing board. It was a fascinating look at civil society and grass roots democracy in a rural community of a developing country. We appreciated the women who were willing to stand for election and represent their perspectives on the UMABU board and future development projects.
Wednesday (15 June) began with Kiswahili lessons with Mwalimu Joyce Masso continued in the morning at breakfast, practicing greetings and learning how to ask for utensils and breakfast foods. Main seminar was a visit to FINCA micro finance office in the morning to learn about their process, clients, and training. Following a visit to the Tupendane shop and Musoma market, we headed to Nyegina for lunch with 3 microfinance borrowers from Etaro village who discussed their perspectives on microfinance. It was a very enriching discussion; the woman and two men who shared their business practice with us are also leaders in their community, and we could see their strategic thinking at work in their business and community perspectives.
Special Dinner Guest, Fr. Kazeri, lectured on cultural importance of ugali (Tanzanian traditional dinner starch) and showed everyone how to eat ugali and students and volunteers practiced eating ugali by hand.
The evening seminar discussion focused on most important experiences and observations so far in the program, and most important questions to be answered by end of program. Great discussion.