The Human Amusement Park Ride
David’s 3rd Blog from Myanmar
We started our journey in southern Chin State, and by the time we started heading north, I’d made deals with elders from 7 villages where Heaven’s Family has never served, villages with names like Gangaw, Cheng, Khuhlu, Ung and Tingsi. All but one of those 7 villages is predominantly Christian. In all, I promised loans totaling close to $50,000 that will initially benefit at least 250 families. Lord willing, they will prosper through agro-businesses.
Heaven’s Family’s loans are made to the village elders, who in turn collectively lend to credit-worthy villagers. If everyone pays back within one year, Heaven’s Family returns all the interest to the elders to use to benefit the elderly, widows and orphans in their villages. Christian capitalism at its best!
Those deals behind us, we proceeded to drive 170 miles north on dusty mountain “roads.” The trip took us 17 bone-rattling and sometimes nerve-racking hours (lots of opportunities to drive over cliffs), and we were glad to finally arrive at the village of Maul Zawl where a long greeting line waited, consisting of everyone in the village. They love us here, and the first thing they did was pray and give thanks to God.
We started serving in Maul Zawl about 5 years ago, even before we began employing the strategy of microcredit, by means of grants for “municipal improvements.” In the case of Maul Zawl, one of those improvements was piping water two miles from their water source. Since Maul Zawl was founded, Maul Zawlians had been carrying all their water in jugs those two miles. These days, they just walk a few steps from their front doors to use one of many public faucets that extend the reach of the village’s concrete cistern.
Over the past few years, just about every family in Maul Zawl has received a loan from Heaven’s Family during one of the several loan cycles. There have been no defaults.
On one of our days in Maul Zawl, I visited with a young man who is a husband and father of 5 children, who finally summoned the courage last year to take his first loan of $300. He could have borrowed as much as $500, but that scared him.
With his loan, he planted ginger, which he is soon to harvest. He is certain that the worst-case scenario is that he’ll double his money. He told me that when he pays off his first loan in a few months, he hopes to borrow $500! Below I’ve included a photo of his family, as well as some other photos that show what life is like in Maul Zawl.