Today, Lennart and Lars-Ola enhanced the capacity of MSG. They have been working with the first group of entrepreneurs we trained two years ago. Seven of the nine participants have departed from the installment plan. Two have handled their installments to the letter. Of the seven, some have only small payments left, and a few have a slightly larger proportion of their loans remaining. The entrepreneurs will have to sign new loan contracts with tightened requirements. As a last resort we will trigger the guarantee, which means that the rest of the group will have to pay for those who do not comply. Excuses will only work to a certain limit. Sooner or later, they will be seen through. There have been some tough lessons for some borrowers, and Yapeco has been very strict. With regard to the follow-ups, we rely a lot on our local representative.
Bernt wrote reports and evaluations, and I prepared for this afternoon’s meeting with school leaders and teachers of the high school at the Baobab Church. I also supplied Lars-Ola and Lennart with new loan contracts and new installment plans as they negotiated with the entrepreneurs. They sat on the patio and Bernt and I worked indoors.
After dinner, Yapeco drove us to the Baobab Church. Unfortunately, we were very very late for the meeting. Logistics and Congo do not always agree. We apologized for our great delay, and their forgiveness saved our conscience. When it comes to waiting, the Congolese are amazing. They are usually not chased by the clock, and no irritation was shown on this occasion. They seemed to be happy that we came at all. The headmaster began with a prayer. Myriam and Anita from Brazzaville had joined us to the meeting, they introduced themselves and Myriam interpreted our discussion. Julienne, our regular interpreter was busy with Lennart and Lars-Ola. Myriam with her training in business economics fit in well, and she also gave us suggestions for textbooks that she had found in Brazzaville.
We shared our thoughts, and they shared theirs. Our training program is highly concentrated. We proposed to use this program the first semester. Then the students should start their own businesses. The teachers’ proposals is that they will manufacture school chalks. At the same time that the students are practicing being entrepreneurs, they will pursue depth studies in the different subjects of running a business, and obtain textbooks for these studies. After a couple of hours’ discussion, we ended by deciding to start a course for teachers on Saturday afternoon. At 1 p.m. everybody should be in place and no one will be allowed to do what mundele did today. The decision was unanimous. The meeting was held outdoors in the shade of the great church. The temperature was moderate today.
Then we went home and I took a shower to get rid of dust and sweat before having an hour’s rest in bed before the next meeting with Bibondo, a member of parliament. He stays here on Lisanga during his business trips. He wanted to meet us and we had a nice talk about almost everything under the sun. Good that we had a common language. During our conversation we had soft drinks with peanuts and bananas. A traditional snack in Congo. He expressed a desire to help us with the necessary contacts and we put our hope in him. Contacts is everything in this country.