Rosana Mitil – At Graduation

Though she far from satisfied with where she got through 18 months of work in the CLM program, Rosana was happy to be at graduation and happy about the progress she’s made. “I’ve my livestock is increasing, and I don’t owe anything to my savings and loan association. I signed up for another year in the association, too.”

She likes the association, because her house full of children makes managing her cash flow a constant challenge. “If you are at a loss for a small sum to get something important done, you can borrow some money from the association and unblock your path.”

Her boys still help her take care of her livestock. She keeps goats and a pig. She worries because she thinks that other CLM members are already selling off the livestock they built up in the program. She herself, however, insists that she won’t do the same. “I don’t yet have goats or pigs to sell. I’m still working to increase what I have.”

She works hard to keep her small commerce going. It’s extremely difficult because she has so many mouths to feed. It takes great discipline because she sells basic groceries – rice, oil, and sugar – and could always add more to any meal she prepares.

But even with the progress that her livestock and her commerce have made, she still thinks of them as sidelines. Her main enterprise is farming. Though the decision comes with risk, she decided to invest all her proceeds from the saving association’s first year into her fields.

Her husband and her oldest son work as part of a team. Team members take turns working in one another’s fields, and they also sell labor to outsiders. It means saving a lot of money. Her fields were worked for nothing as part of the arrangement. Even so, she had to come up with the money to feed a team of 17 men every day they worked. And that was after spending money on the seeds they would need.

If her harvest is good, it will have been worthwhile. Rosana’s plans for the future involve a big increase in her expenses, and she’ll have trouble succeeding unless her farming takes off. She wants to rent a room near downtown Laskawobas for her children so that they can go to school there. She says that they’ll be able to attend much better schools than the one they attend now in Mawotyè, and the walk back and forth will be much easier than the hike up and down the mountain that they are stuck with now.