A reminder of goodness in the world

The MAVISALO Maize Mill cooperative helps bring food security and prosperity to rural Malawi.

The MAVISALO Maize Mill cooperative helps bring food security and prosperity to rural Malawi.

Have you heard those stories about people pulling up to the coffee drive-through window, ready to order, only to find out that the person in front of them has already paid for their drink?

What a gift! And often, that person turns around and pays for the person behind them – passing along the gift to another fellow café-goer.

My friend was part of just such a chain of giving in Minnesota. The chain was 19 links long when she got to it, each person wishing the stranger behind them, “an awesome day.” It was something that was fun; that brightened her day. For those who heard the story, it was a reminder that goodness exists in the world.

An Example from Malawi

MAVISALO members working the maize mill. Maize is the staple crop, and milling it into a coarse meal significantly increases the market value.

MAVISALO members working the maize mill. Maize is the staple crop, and milling it into a coarse meal significantly increases the market value.

This sharing of the gift – passing along the joy – is built into the very fiber of Spirit in Action grants. Sharing the Gift can take many forms, though I haven’t yet heard of a Kenyan coffee giving chain yet. Until then, here’s an example from Malawi:

Manyamula Village Savings and Loans Cooperative (MAVISALO) members have benefited greatly from the 2013 SIA grant to collectively purchase a maize mill. (Read more about the maize mill here.)

The co-op rents out the use of the mill, providing a good source of income to the group. Funds from the project – the total profit from 2013 was an impressive $600 – have added to the capital base of the loan fund in order to meet the high demand for low-interest loans among MAVISALO’s members.

What about Sharing the Gift?

The next generation of piglets will be passed on to vulnerable families in the community.

The next generation of piglets will be passed on to vulnerable families in the community.

Social assistance is part of the mandate of the MAVISALO and so some of the income also helps to pay secondary school fees for orphans and vulnerable students from the community. That is part of Sharing the Gift and paying-it-forward to benefit the community in the long run by education its youth.

“The other most important activity done with this fund,” reports MAVISALO leader Canaan Gondwe, “is the implementation of the Pig Pass On Project in the eight zones of the cooperative.” At the end of the year the cooperative had enough in the social fund to purchase twelve pigs!

The piglets are now in the care of the zone leaders, who are charged with watching and breeding them. Canaan Gondwe, who is experienced in pig rearing, is also helping to insure that the pigs are healthy and growing. Once the pigs have their first offspring, piglets will be given out to the most vulnerable households in each zone.

Pigs represent a big investment in Malawi, much more than a cup of coffee. This Pig Pass On Project, then, is a huge gift given to those in the community who need it most. The MAVISALO members realize they have received a great gift through SIA and they in turn are helping families with HIV/AIDS, widows, and orphan-led families to give them a chance to thrive.

How’s that for a story to remind us of goodness and generosity in the world?

More about MAVISALO:

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5 Responses to “A reminder of goodness in the world”

  1. Donna Thomas March 25, 2014 8:07 pm
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    I love the pig pass on project! And the maize mill.

    Great work, Tanya (and coordinators!)

  2. Lana Runyan March 25, 2014 8:26 pm
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    Another example of why SIA is a unique gift from God! So many rich lessons to be learned and harbored in our hearts when we feel discouraged by things going on in our world. Praise the Lord!!

  3. Dennis March 26, 2014 1:14 pm
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    I had to smile at the PPOP – Pig Pass On Project. That’s a new one!
    Dennis

  4. marsha johnson March 26, 2014 3:59 pm
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    My first year out of high school in 1964, I commuted with four other friends from Oakland (California) to San Francisco State College. We each drove one day a week. (This was pre-BART, rapid transit!) We were so delighted several times with the “pay forward” surprise when our fifty cent toll was paid by the car in front of us. Then we continued the gift and have no idea how many drivers continued the pattern. Sometimes WE started it ourselves and often the car behind us caught up and gave us a smile and a wave. Yes, it’s a joyful concept, and I’m so thankful that Spirit in Action is encouraging “pay it forward’ with its Small Business Fund.

    Gratefully,
    Marsha

  5. Tanya Cothran March 26, 2014 4:10 pm
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    It’s so fun to hear your story Marsha! Thanks for sharing. I can picture you having a good time starting the chain!

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