This past week I have been reading a book called The Ragamuffin Gospel. After reading this book, I have been challenged both personally and spiritually in my walk with God. “In the grasp of wonder, I am surprised, I am enraptured. It’s Moses before the burning bush afraid to look at God.” This passage really struck me and I began to ask God for wonder as I continue to serve these women through my microfinance project. I want to share some of the stories from this week of how God has opened my eyes and showed me wonder.
This past Friday, I was visiting one of the woman’s groups that we normally go to. This week we were working on individual assessments to see how each of the women was doing in bookkeeping and English. We felt that it would be more beneficial to work with each woman individually and help them on their skill levels. Some women needed a lot of help, while others are able do it all by themselves. There was one particular woman who was having a lot of trouble with basic math skills. One of our team members was practically holding the pen in her hand while trying to get her to write the correct answer. Even when it was explained in Swahili she would have a hard time coming up with the answers. After a grueling half hour of doing this one worksheet, we finally figured out what the problem was. She couldn’t see. No wonder she had no idea what the right answer was, she couldn’t even see the numbers that we were pointing to. I think this was the first time in my four weeks here that I actually realized the reality of these women’s lives. Not once in their lives have any of these women been given proper treatment for their eyes. I thought I was helping these women by training them on math and English, but I hadn’t even scratched the surface of the actual problems. Half of these women need glasses. Teaching with a language barrier is hard enough, but teaching someone who has difficulty seeing is a whole other issue. A ten-dollar pair of glasses is all that is standing between a literate woman and an illiterate one.
On Monday my microfinance team held a meeting with a few of the leaders from the women’s groups. We were discussing various ways that we could help each individual and make their lives and businesses more successful. I started talking to one of the women, and I asked her why she didn’t have much attendance in the group meetings. She said, “Well three of our members are disabled and can’t leave the house. We’ve been trying to get them wheelchairs for years, but they just can’t afford It.” $200 is all it takes to buy a wheelchair. What is pocket change to most people is a life long savings for these women. How blind could I have been to not see this problem? These women are struggling and need help desperately.
These are just a few of the ways that God has shown me wonder throughout this week. My team and I had to completely step back and focus on the root of these women’s problems, instead of doing what we thought was good enough. We now need to find ways to provide basic and essential necessities to these women because without it our help is useless. We began identifying and documenting all the needs of each individual in hopes that we will be able to find ways to provide for them.
The problems don’t just stop at glasses and wheelchairs. Some women need help with school tuition for their children, some need shoes, and some just need more capital money to build their businesses. This is why we are here. To help these women with every bone in our bodies and with every resource we have.
Assisting these women to create a sustainable business is only a small part of what we are doing here. My heart breaks for their needs, and I pray everyday that God will provide us with tools and resources to help them.
Until next time,