Mr. EKL had his right leg amputated in 2008 because of complications from diabetes. At the time, diabetes was a relatively unknown disease in Tanzania and Mr. EKL wasn’t even aware that he suffered from the disease. By the time doctors diagnosed him, it was too late and he lost his leg. This caused him to give up his job in Dar es Salaam and move back to his home village of Mkyashi. Since then he has carefully monitored his blood sugar and remained in good health. In addition to his good diet, Mr. EKL has two grandchildren living with him who help him stay young. He tends livestock and maintains a small banana and coffee farm. Many visitors to Mkyashi have left with a few kilos of Mr. EKL’s organic coffee.
When Lishe Bora started their first Village Community Banking group in 2015, Mr. EKL was eager to join. He had seen other people join these groups and knew they could be helpful. He joined the group and was nominated to be a leader, helping with keeping minutes and checking the ledger.
Every week the group gets together and each member contributes 500 (US $0.24) TZS towards a “Family Fund” to help other members in times of trouble and 2,000 TZS as a share in the bank which can be loaned out to other members.
In May 2016 Mr. EKL got very bad news. His blood sugar had unexpectedly spiked and now his left leg would need to be amputated. In under a month Mr. EKL went from a mobile 80 year-old to being confined to a wheel chair in a village without paved roads. Upon hearing this bad news, Mr. EKL’s Vicoba group decided that each member should contribute 2,000 TZS – a total of (US $27) – to help in his recovery and transition. To express his gratitude, Mr. EKL wrote the following letter:
To Members of the Lishe Bora Vicoba Mkyashi group
I, as Member No. 3, am expressing my sincere gratitude and endless appreciation for my 28 fellow group members for contributing 2,000 TZS each to help with my medical problems and loss of my second leg, which was amputated at KCMC.
When I learned of your contributions, I could not believe it and never expected that we could love each other like this. I pray to God we all help each other any time one of us has a challenge like this. I am still with you in all you do and I will return to the group to make my contributions and support all of my fellow members as soon as I am able.
Glory to Christ,
Member No. 3