When the usual morning routine was completed, we walked over to the Youth House (YH). At 9 am we started the workday with private tuition. Two of the future partners of the Nsanda Group (agricultural project) live in Matadi, but only one of them – Mbombi Richard – could make it today. He is already an entrepreneur, running his own pharmacy in Nsanda. He will become the local manager of the Nsanda project, and he is the only one of the partners who goes to Nsanda every day. After getting to know him a little better, Bernt and Julienne began the tuition. Samuel Nkailu, caretaker of YH, was also there. I went over to Yapeco´s office, where I did some reporting and other desk work.
At 10.30 am, Yapeco and I went to the YH with coffee and snacks. And after that, Yapeco and I reviewed our financial position. Yapeco is a rock and spends a lot of time on MSG. We don´t pay him for his work, but he is compensated through an advantageous loan that he got today when we were at the bank BIAC. We met with the new managing director and we are working on strengthening the cooperation with the bank. The loan will consolidate Yapeco´s business and provide him with a decent income. More and more, we realize what an asset he is to MSG. There is only one problem with Yapeco; it´s difficult for him to find time to study English and therefore we experience occasional misunderstandings. We are looking for solutions to facilitate his English studies.
During the afternoon, the follow-up of the October 10 Group continued with three individual talks. First up was Demba, who is also the chairperson of his group. His has a loan of $1,250, which is the smallest loan we have granted yet. He was very pleased with his business, a shop where he sells groceries and other necessities. Then came Peter who used to be a math teacher, but couldn´t support his family on his teacher salary. He has a small sewing workshop and two employees, both seamstresses. He has bought two bales of second hand clothes that he and his staff have made-over, and two bales of fabrics that have been made into curtains and sundries. The products are sold in his shop. His loan amounts to $1,800, and he has already paid the interest of $130 ”in advance”. According to the agreed terms of the payment plan they don´t have to pay any interest or installments before July 30. After that date they make monthly installments for 13 months, when the entire loan will be repaid.
The third man was Philippe. He has a small farm where he breeds chickens and pigs. He was cautious about investing everything in pigs. The dry period in spring, that arrived a few months after he got the loan, is problematic for piglets and that´s why he didn´t buy any. But he has built a pigsty and made preparation for future pig farming. And he has made up for the ”loss” by trading Turkish cement and rice. Philippes has borrowed $2,300. All three of the entrepreneurs we met with today think that their businesses are doing fine. It´s interesting to see their inventiveness – if things don´t work out the way they thought, they find something else to do. An unanimous outlook is ”We do everything we can”. One trouble that has occurred is when a so called person of authority comes and asks for tax. This tax can be quite arbitrary. Yapeco, who has been an entrepreneur for many years had a lot of good advice to share with our new entrepreneurs.