The Dreams of Mothers
Recently, Sanergy received a real treat – the leaders of Kiva, Premal Shah and Matt Flannery, swung through Nairobi to meet with our team and our Fresh Life Operators.
Much of the visit was business. Kiva has been one of our earliest supporters – when no bank thought that our entrepreneurs were creditworthy, Kiva stepped in to first guarantee the loans and then, since September, fund our entrepreneurs directly. The visit gave Matt and Premal a chance to see our work in action.
Of course, who better to turn to but our Fresh Life Operators to give them a real sense of our progress? Margaret, one of our new Fresh Life Operators, volunteered to show the Kiva team her two new Fresh Life Toilets. Margaret proved to be a great interviewee and not just because she is three months ahead of schedule on her Kiva re-payment. Margaret is a mother of six children, but she literally has every child living on her street reciting how to wash hands properly, how to apply sawdust to absorb odor, and how to use Fresh Life. She explained the profitable economics of a sanitation business and the challenges her community faces in gaining access to hygienic sanitation. She felt like the perfect success story.
As the site visit wound down, Margaret surprised us. She quietly asked whether she could sing a traditional folksong for our guests. Among the frenetic energy in the slums, she offered us a serene moment of transcendence. Then she said, “You know, my real dream has always been to make an album of my singing.”
Especially as we approach Mother’s Day, Margaret reminded us that while her work creates a brighter future for her family and community today, she has her own dreams to fulfill too. Step by step, the work that we do is helping Margaret begin to imagine those once far-fetched dreams as a very real possibility.
We wish all our mothers the very best.