Change You Can See

Date posted: Thursday 09 May 2019

This update comes from Dr. Tom Hendrickson, President of Iringa Hope – a BKB affiliate working to alleviate poverty among our members by providing access to micro credit, education and training, and markets and supplies for their farms in the Iringa Region and beyond.


Dear Friends-


Sandy and I left Minnesota in late March, just as things started to melt. We were on our way to Iringa to meet with many of our leaders and members in Iringa Hope.


It is exciting to go to our villages and see our members. They always have inspiring stories of how Iringa Hope is changing people’s lives. I walk away impressed and humbled by how a little help can make such a big difference to the people living here. I am also amazed at how quickly Iringa changes from year to year. Most people living here do not seem to realize this, but I suppose it is because to them it happened slowly over the course of a year.


This year I noticed that pikipiki (motorcycle) “taxis” have largely been replaced by three wheeled vehicles from India. I noticed that the streets are almost all lit by solar powered LED street lights, and several of the streets that were full of deep holes are now paved, or at least leveled off. Iringa is changing.


However, when we visit most rural locations we do not see as much change. There, away from the city, life changes much more slowly for people, threatening to leave them behind. This is another reason we get excited visiting our members. Often, we find things around our SACCOS and AMCOS members are changing, growing, and improving.


Looking around we see that villages where we are working have new homes, more merchants, better services, etc. It is truly inspiring to see how the improvements in our member’s incomes spread beyond their homes, affecting their communities as well.


When I was visiting with one of our leaders at our training sessions, he told me that he too had noticed this. He said that a group of them had been discussing the changes and growth taking place in their village, but that the same thing wasn’t happening in the surrounding villages. He said that they were convinced that this was because they had Iringa Hope as a part of their community while the others did not. “Tell our many friends in Minnesota that they are changing our whole village and that we feel blessed. God bless them for caring.”


Tom Hendrickson, President of Iringa Hope