The morning was started with fast e-mail contacts from the US to Congo, to Russia and back to Congo, back to the US and to Congo again. Bernt’s relative Barbara, who lives in Washington state wanted to support us, but concluded that you can only pay either in SEK or in € using the payment service on our web site. That would have been difficult for her, so she sent the question to us by e-mail if there was any possibilities to support us in US dollars. Her question was sent by 12.56 am, Congolese time. By 6.38 am, I had forwarded the question to our computer support, i.e. my son Aron in Moscow. His reply came 6.59 am, and I passed it on to the US by 7.00 am. At 7.05 am I received an confirmation from the US that the information had been received. And the answer to the question – what currencies will be accepted by the payment service on matadi.se is: Any currency can be used. The payment service automatically converse the amount you wish to donate or lend into SEK. If anyone has any questions about the payment service on our web side, please write a comment on any of our blogs, or send us an e-mail. The e-mail addresses are found on the web page Contacts us.
Samuel and Muditu came to see us after breakfast and they wanted to talk about the trip tomorrow to Nsanda. Muditu is growing vegetables there, and we are going to have a look at his cultivations. We thanked Samuel and Muditu for letting us borrow the Youth House for three full days, but they just said that the house belongs to us too. It´s nice to be part-owner in the Youth House. The house is very good to use for the courses, except when the current is absent. We brought up this problem, and they promised that we will have a better power supply when we come next time. The first time we used the Youth House, there was current almost all the time, which was very good. We use the computer and the projector a lot in our teaching, if we have the possibility. But the reason for the absent current is of course a need to cut costs. And they choose to have no current in the day, so that the outdoor lighting can be used during the night to deter uninvited guests.
During the day, Bernt and I have read the accounts of the entrepreneurs, and studied their economic plans. When we go through their submitted work, we learn more about how to organize the teaching. We learn what goes home, and what is harder to understand. We will probably be able to accord 75% of the loan applications of this group. Seven out of ten wants to engage in trade. Their planned businesses are a pharmacy, a grocery, a general store, a clothes and shoe shop, a butcher´s shop, a fish shop, a spice and vegetable shop and a shop with automobile parts. Considering the Congolese car fleet, the need for automobile parts is probably immeasurable. One wants to open a dressmaker´s workshop, and the two last members of the group wants to expand their poultry farms. Four of ten are women. This group contains 100% more women than the last group. We hope that the share of women will continue to increase. There are some indications of them being more trustworthy than man. As you may remember, the savings bank in Luozi takes 10% interest of men, and 5% interest of women, probably a consequence of the level of reliability.
We are in the middle of changing banks. Yapeco has been to Ecobank and handed in our application for opening an account. We expect this bank to give us better service and more support than the former. Our resources are sometimes insufficient. This bank seems to be able to grant loans with reasonable terms and conditions. Some Congolese banks have a monthly interest rate of 3 – 5%. The annual interest is twelve times the monthly interest, and in addition, the repayment period is very short. All in all, the conditions are unreasonable.
Tonight, we experienced the best rain and thunder since the beginning of December. Everyone keeps their fingers crossed for a continuation. Several pundits have prophesied that next month will be very rainy. We certainly hope so, otherwise there will be disastrous drought.
Just now the current went away, and I thought I would have to do the final touch using a flash light. The flash light hangs ready to use on a sculpture of a Congolese women that I have on the writing table. But the current came back again, and that was lucky because my computer battery was almost empty.