Aug 21, 2006
In July, we were invited to join with World Concern and Habitat for Humanity in interviewing the poor who were affected by the tsunami of 2004. The goal: Find program opportunities where we can help them help themselves, such as micro-enterprise through small business loans. It was an incredible experience!
On the way to Lanta Island (Ko Lanta). This island was hit hard by the 'wave.'
Interviewing the Mogan people (sea gypsies and fishermen). These Muslim people were supported by the fishing industry (catching and selling). The fish AND the tourists are 90% gone from the area. It will be years before full recovery. These people are looking for ways to preserve their heritage and, yet find new financial alternatives to fishing. They want to learn new skills. And, perhaps, seeds can be sown to share the Gospel.
A 'typical' home. No running water. No electricity. Sleeping on the floor. Cooking in a hole in the floor.
A very nice pregnant woman who Paula befriended. The poor have a huge heart...but not much else.
Hope alongside the roadway!
A fish farm in a local Muslim village. They raise fish and sell them to middle men from the mainland.
Happy fish farmer! But, he lost all his customers when the tsunami washed them away. He is earning about 20% of the little money he made before.
On our way to Jam Island (Ko Jam)! Paula getting ready for a soon-to-be monsoon we encountered!
The entry to Jam Island. The island is a very small island about 1 hour boat ride into the gulf. Before the tsunami, there was fishing and toursim. Fishing is now about 10% of normal levels. Tourism is virtually gone.
This is a poor village of Muslim sea gypsies (Mogan people). No running water. No electricity. A few chickens. They eat the fish they catch...few as they are.
Hey....You gotta love this girl! Tired after 3 days of interviewing?? Nope.
Posted by Gary and Paula Hays at 3:07 AM
Aug 19, 2006
We were very honored to join several national managers from World Concern in Bangladesh. We observed the micro enterprise projects in the Northern half of the country. It was an incredible experience! This is Pastor Prodip, who oversees World Concern Bangladesh. A terrific guy!!!
On our first night in the capital city of Dhaka....a monsoon outside our guest house! But, in true form, when you love soccer, NOTHING can stop the game!
We were asked by Pastor Prodip to deliver a sermon on belief to a small church in Dhaka. The congregation sits on the floor..women on one side and men on the other. They are a small minority in Muslim Bangladesh....but STRONG in their beliefs, and filled with the joy of God.
A couple of days later, we delivered the same sermon to the World Concern staff. The large staff oversees a fantastic micro enterprise program. The staff is almost 100% Christian! They start their work with prayer and devotions.
Pictures of the poorer section of Dhaka. Dhaka does not have a 'modern' section, per se. But people here live in very dilapidated conditions, rarely have running water or electricity.
I hope that Paula forgives me, but I love this picture! She was a very poor woman who is a recipient of a small loan for her micro business. She lives in a house about 10 X 10 feet. Yet, she insisted on giving us fresh mangoes from her tree.
Paula learned early that covering her 'blonde' hair was a good idea...
I learned that keeping a hat on over my slowly expanding bald spot was just as good an idea!
The sun??? It was hot....(OK...IT WAS HOT!!)
This woman in Dhaka received a small loan to start a sewing business.
She was crafty enough to find a machine that made a particular stitch that other tailors cannot make. She has created a 'stitch niche.' (OK, sorry about that)
Millions bathe in the nearby river.
This man received a small loan to make bangles.
Paula is now the bangle maker's favorite person.....He bought a Mercedes right after she left with his goods!
Roadside scene. Child and mother harvesting in a field.
Once you are out of Dhaka and heading north toward Pakistan, the color becomes very green.
This is an unusual plant, called an image plant. Its roots take on the appearance of the farmer who planted it! (OK, I'll stop the jokes soon).
A very happy baker! He received a small loan and delivers his bread (by bicycle powered cart) to local villages. He employs 4 workers.
Amazing what about $75 can do in parts of Asia!
These pictures are from a popular business in Bangladesh and Thailand. Fish farming allows people to support themselves as well as feed their families.
And if they choose, the water can support the growth of fruit trees and other agriculture!
Tons of great kids in a very poor Hindu village in Bangladesh. What a welcome!
Paula teaching the "Shaka" sign from Hawaii.....Still an island girl at heart! So far, no adoptions to the Hays family to report!
What does she dream of for her life?
What does she want for her child?
What can we do to bring the Giver of all dreams to her?
Monthly meetings where micro business owners share ideas, friendship, encouragement (and make their monthly payments).
Isn't it amazing how a simple little hope can change a life?
We are committed to helping people find their smiles again....and to find the Lord for the first time!
Beautiful people who need the Lord. Micro Enterprise helps open the door to sow the seeds.
(By the way, someone has to help Paula get over her shyness!)
This picture just seems to 'move' us. Mothers and babies are among God's greatest joys!
This family borrowed about $100 to start a snack business. As it grew, they used the profits to help develop this mustard oil business. 1 cow, 1 person to direct the cow in a circular pattern, and 1 grinder....and you HAVE it! Very creative, huh? (I believe they could use this in Italy instead of stomping on all those grapes!)
The final result: Mustard seed and oil! Bangladesh cooking utilizes this a lot!
Another monthly group meeting in another village. Micro enterprise CAN make a difference!
This woman borrowed about $50 to start a candy business. The candy is put into jars and is a favorite among the village kids. She actually employs 5-6 other women to help her. Today---Taffy pasta. Tomorrow---PowerBar!
Caramel is rolled and stretched before a powdery dough is added.
The ultimate teamwork!
The flour is mixed with the caramel to make a pasta-like candy...ready to be cut and sliced!
Final step: Munch and enjoy!
(We did!) Pretty good, actually!
This entrepreneur group was in Northeastern Bangladesh. Most are women...inspired and fired up with hope! As Muslims, this is a first step and a door opener to sharing the Gospel!
Nike...made in GERMANY???? Hmmm...Something rather 'fishy' going on, don't you think??
Paula with a new friend....We'll return to Bangladesh sometime next year.
Posted by Gary and Paula Hays at 3:18 AM