I know it’s been a while since I last updated so here’s what’s been going on for the past few weeks.
I’ve been working on a proposal for a restaurant in Kita. Basically I would get the funds to build my women’s cooperative a building in their concession. They would do the rest in terms of managing the restaurant, deciding what food to sell, and such. I think it’s a great location so hopefully it works out. Other than that I’m looking to start reorganizing my mobile bank into savings and loans groups. Currently the mobile bank has too many clients and not enough collectors. In the short term my plan is to decrease the number of clients to a more manageable size until we can train new collectors. We can do this a few ways: 1) Cash out inactive clients. All those people who have stopped saving money and probably only have a few hundred CFA with the mobile bank will be given all their money back. If they’re serious about being part of the mobile bank they can start saving again. 2) Start savings and loans groups. The idea is to siphon away current mobile bank clients who are a) women and b) have businesses already to form these groups so they can save with each other and give credit to each other as well. This way the mobile bank serves its intended clients: people who just want to save a little bit of money each day (and that’s all).
Other than my projects I was recently in Senegal for WAIST (West African International Softball Tournament) in Dakar. A bunch of us rode the bus from Bamako to Dakar where we chilled at the American Club, played softball for a few days, and just hung out. It was nice to get away from Mali because I’ve just been here way too long but also to see what life was like outside of our bubble that is Malila. I got some good ice cream, smoked some cigars, enjoyed some nice vistas and when all was said and done I went to this beach town called Tubab Diallaw where I just sat around listening to the waves rolling in all day reading a book and evening out my tan. I liked it so much it was hard to tear myself away. I arrived this morning after a harrowing 40+ hour bus ride. Although a part of me is sad to be away from the ocean another part is glad to be back in Mali where I feel I can be of use once again. Already looking forward to my next vacation. Spain, here I come!