Today we met many different Opportunity International clients — each one unique in what he or she was selling. One of the clients was selling used clothing. He was such an inspiration because he was receiving his first loan and his goal was to use the profits to support his family, including seven siblings! We asked him if he had repeat customers and he said he did, so clearly he understood the importance of customer service. Different venders were coming around and watching as we stood around this man’s merchandise and asked him questions. Our local Opportunity International staff member/guide said he would probably become a celebrity because of all the attention that he was getting from “white people.”
We were laughing that we might see clothes that we had donated to different organizations that were then shipped to countries for resale. Shopping seems to be a universal language. Whether you are in the United States or Tanzania, you see women talking and trying on clothes. One thing that everyone noticed on this trip was that the people of Tanzania take pride in their clothing. Just about everyone walking down the street looks nice and put together.
Next, we had to go through a narrow walkway at the market to meet with a client who sells avocados from her stand. She will use her new loan from Opportunity to expand her business so that she can also sell tomatoes and other products, and use the profits to send her children to school. She was such a sweet lady, and it was so humbling when she gave a few of us a piece of avocado. That was a sacrifice for her and I felt honored that she was willing to share her products and story with us. In her eyes, we could see excitement and hope for a better life for her family because of her loan!