When we visit loan beneficiaries, there are always many that stand out for a variety of reasons. Today we met Gregoire, who is clearly a natural leader and forward thinker and one of over 1300 people that make up the loan groups of our Mayange Community Development Project. Gregoire lives in the Bugasera district of Rwanda just outside of Kigali, its main city. This area was heavily devastated by the genocide, which happened exactly 25 years ago. Because of that, there is much unused land left by the tragic loss of life.
Gregoire is a farmer, father of three and had been farming is ½ acre where he lives in Mwogo. He recognized that a neighboring area, Nyamata, had available unused land and decided to rent a much larger plot to farm there both because it is available land at a good price and because it is much closer to the market where he can sell his vegetables. He rides his bicycle 1 ½ hours each way every day to tend to his eggplants and tomatoes. Four months ago he first rented this land and will already double his income with the first harvest coming soon!
Other loan group members from Mwogo saw what Gregoire was doing and how it was benefitting him, so five more have followed his lead and taken loans for land rental in Nyamata. More are sure to follow. A loan of 175.00 and a great idea allowed Gregoire to lift his family up one step closer on the path out of poverty.