Wed. 28th February 2018 at Kajuki
During a healthy breakfast at the Eco Lodge, I enjoy chatting to the owner, a retired civil servant who had hospitality training in London. I mention the loud music of the previous afternoon, and the lack of a waste basket. He thanks me and asks for more feedback.
I’ve been looking forward to meeting the famous loan ladies of Kajuki, who organise themselves into an efficient co-operative based on the Grameen banking system. Joseph drives Veronica and me to a nearby community and I am introduced to dozens of smiling, welcoming ladies.
My book, Breath of Africa, is only one of many supporters of their businesses, but I bask in the reflective glory of their gratitude.
Veronica leads me to the shops, which are mainly hair-dressers and haberdashers. Luckily the weather is cooler than yesterday, and I am feeling refreshed. But there is something pricking in my shoe which stabs my sole when I least expect it. When I take off my shoe and probe inside, there is nothing there.
Our next stop is the Wednesday market. We enter the crowded market place and meet more loan ladies. Rose (right) had borrowed 100,000/- (UK£740)and stocked up with some lovely shoes for both men and women. She is rightly proud of her display, and knows in her head the purchase and selling price of every pair. A savvy lady, who will go far.
Everyone is very friendly and grateful, and happy to pose for photographs. Veronica takes me by the hand, so I don’t get lost. I buy a few gifts; a fruit bowl, a Karibu sign (welcome), a glass bead mat, a length of bright waxed material; and some necklaces. She carries them for me, and Joseph waits patiently in the car amidst the dust and chaos, the boda bodas and goats herded for trade.
People are doing vibrant business everywhere.