Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Sustainable Living ...

Sometimes just doesn't happen. 
BUT that is why we are here... to try our best to make the lives of those we journey with more sustainable. 
Sustainable meaning the basics - a roof over their head, food to eat and clothes to wear.

That came VERY clear to me again the other day. 
Marie Jean can into my office at J.Lynn's asking for a loan - 20,000 rwf ($29 USD)
I knew that she already had an outstanding loan with us and we have a policy that you can't take out more than one loan at a time. 
When I asked her what she needed money for - rent and medical fees and food. 


I don't know Marie Jean that well as she only works for us two days a week. What I do know is that in an effort to align things more at J.Lynn's, I was going to cut her to one day per week as she really isn't 
'necessary' for the second day. 

She needed to pay house rent now (11,000 rwf / $16 USD) or she would be kicked out of her home. Her daughter was very sick with malaria and typhoid and needed the medicine (6,000 rwf / $9 USD), and the rest she would use for food. 

She begged me to give her the loan. 

So... I started asking more questions. 

Where is her husband? He was unfaithful and left her. She has no support. 

Does she have any other jobs? Sometimes she can work a day for someone washing clothes or labour work. 

If she receives 16,000 rwf / month for 8 days work from me per month and 11,000 rwf is for rent and 3,000 rwf is for loan payback, just how do they eat? Some days they eat and some days they don't. Sometimes the neighbours give them food. 

Do her girls go to school? Yes, one is sponsored by a local NGO and the other is paid for by the local government. (I was SO glad to hear this... they are in Grade 3 and 4.) 

So I know you need the money, but how do you expect to pay it off? Cut me 5,000 / month. Sigh... 

A couple things here... if I do that, she has NO money for the month. 
Next up on our list of training at J.Lynn's is personal budgeting... what does that look like for her?? 
We have such a spectrum of women here at J.Lynn's.. Marie Jean and then my mind goes to Chantal, who has taken a few loans from us and is raising pigs to gain extra income - and doing great at it, I might add! 
MUST get the training for kitchen gardens in before the beginning of September when the next growing season starts. If Marie Jean can grow some food, her life just might be better... 
We need to grow more here at J.Lynn's too.. maybe we rent a field somewhere and grow food so we have extra for Marie Jean and others in need. She could work at the field for food... just a thought. 

My mind goes so many places. I wish I could 'fix' peoples lives quickly so they would be living in such hardship, challenge and pain. But I know my role is not to fix but to journey alongside and do my / our best to help them grow, learn, and develop into the person that God has created them to be.  

My prayer... let me see Jesus in them and get on with doing what I am called to do in their lives! 

We paid the medical fees... but not the rent. Would be so easy to pay it all... but dependency, dependency... God give us wisdom. 

I thank God I never got around to cutting her back to one day a week at J.Lynn's ... Thank you Jesus!

1 comment:

cochrane said...

Really good article, Jen. The complexity of the situation is quite something. Thank you.