|With Nyakwe Masura (left) at her house.|
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
A visit to an elderly woman, and revelations on a traditional brewing venture
For more than ten years I have paid school fees and other related expenses for two orphaned students who have recently completed secondary education. Today, I visited their grandmother at the neigbouring village of Muryaza.
A few days ago she asked to see me and I told her to remain at home and that I would visit her instead. Over the years she has been walking all the way from her house to mine to remind me of overdue fees, and to ask for my assistance on various issues. It is a round trip of about 8 kilometres; not a short distance for a woman who I estimate is at least 80 years old.
Now both her grandchildren want to join the army. And that was the reason why she called me today to ask me to help them enlist. Two weeks ago the younger of the two asked me for Shs.17,000 (approximately $US 8) for launching a brewing venture. I gave him the money after he reassured me he was not going to produce illicit brew. Today he gave me details of his new venture, and I am worried he might not join the army.
With the money I gave him he produced three containers of approximately 20 litres each, and sold them for a total of shs.105,000 (Over $US 50), a profit of over 600 percent. The brewing process takes about two weeks, but the produce is sold in a day to owners of shebeens.
As I left, I told him I was worried that if he continues making money at this rate he might not join the army anymore. If he overcomes the initial challenge of raising sufficient capital, earning $US 50 adds up to $US 1,500 per month. And that isn’t small change by Tanzanian living standards.