Our area is rich in many respects: there is an abundance of rice, fruit, coffee and sugarcane. Most people have chickens, while the rich own cattle. Local stores sell basic food items such as beans, peanuts and dried fish. Despite low wages (Eur 0,74 a day) our neighbours have enough … until sickness arrives.
Treatment by a local GP costs anywhere between 5 and 8 days’ wages, whereas treatment in hospital – over 2 hours’ drive away – costs several months’ wages. Our neighbours often know where to find us when the dark days come. Letena came to us this last December. His wife urgently needed a caesarian in hospital, but he did not have any funds. If no help came he would lose his baby and his wife – also mother of his son.
We helped Letena with a gift and a loan. The same day his wife was transported to hospital where a healthy daughter was born. Now, over half a year later, both mother and child are faring well. The child received the name ‘Fandriana soa nomenan’Andriamanitra’, which means ‘The Creator gave a good bed’.
Meanwhile business has picked up for Letena: sofar he has been able to pay back over half of his debt to us. By giving money to pay towards medical expenses we help save lives; by giving credit our neighbours retain their pride and dignity as they show the ability to provide for their families. Giving and lending is also culturally appropriate: borrowing and lending are a normal part of interdependency in relationships.
On behalf of Letena and many other neighbours: a warm thank you to everyone who has helped us to live and give in this place!