On Saturday we visited our final village, and the first story that we heard was from Issac. He talked about how he had used the knowledge given in the PEP training sessions to translate into action, and the progress we can see with him is easy to see. He started by growing and selling greens, and then moved onto oranges.
When the previous team came to the village to see what he had done, they visited his house – the first brick-built house in the village – which had been built to window height. He has now put the roof on (unfortunately had to have a cheaper gauge metal, as decided to follow the PEP model of work with what you have). He still needs to put the finishing touches – e.g. doors, windows, but he’s hoping it won’t be too long, but dependent upon crop prices. He now has a business that buys and sells cassava.
We visited his plot of land, and went to visit the first brick-built house we’ve seen inside all trip. There’s 4 main rooms – 1 for the children (2 girls, I think), 1 for the parents, and 1 for living? Plus a “visitor’s room” and an area for washing. A good number of oranges are growing on his trees, and Isaac seemed very phlegmatic about how long it would take to finish the building “let’s see what we get for crops”.
Isaac was also the only person we met who wanted to (or had ability to) take photos of us – with his mobile phone, so we asked a bit about his phone. He’s purchased a phone for business connections – whereas before he would have had to walk/ride to negotiate prices/selling, etc. he can now do this easily with a telephone call, before transporting anything. He doesn’t have a smartphone, but a “cheap Chinese phone”, which he rarely uses for personal use, but helps him make more money for his goods. His phone can hold 3 days charge, and he takes it ‘up the street’ to someone who charges him 500 (about 12p?) for a full charge.