As we walk through the bustling marketplace, the spiritual integration officer at HOPE Congo, Precy Ndongui, calls out “Hello!” in English to anyone who has been part of the HOPE Congo family, and without fail the clients respond with the expected “Hi.” As an excellent former loan officer, Precy knows this call and response well and energetically greets the clients as friends. As we navigated through the market from one busy client to another, clients’ words of friendship and community through times of joy and difficulty stood out. I invite you to meet a few beautiful women from the HOPE family:
“Now I have another family,” says Euridice, a member of a HOPE community bank in Brazzaville. As she smiles and confidently sells us a bag of peanuts, Euridice explains how she has not only benefitted from the business trainings on investing wisely, managing cash flow, and developing savings, but has also grown closer to other women who sell in the same market as they learn together and visit one another.
Josephine, another client who is busy selling bread and pasta, also feels like her community bank has become a second family to her. She explains, “I like that we have become one. When a person is suffering we all suffer.” When one person is sick, they support that person with encouragement and by helping them out financially.
Edite explains that it is not always easy to cover for one another, but that she is immensely grateful to her community bank family for the way that they supported her when her own family was in need. She joined the HOPE community bank last year, and shortly after, on December 20, her father passed away. Her group came around her in support through this difficult time and took up a contribution for her.
Around the corner in the clothing section, another member of Edite’s community bank, Helen, shared further about how their group acts as a second family. “What I like is when someone is sick we go and visit them and help one another. This is what I love about the group.” Based on their experience helping Edite, their group decided that when someone gets sick, they will always take up a contribution to support one another.
Please join me in praying that the Spirit will continue to work powerfully in these women’s lives and communities, and in the lives of many clients like them.