I thought you might like to meet some of my lovely colleagues, so here they are in action...
At the top we have Mr Iddrisu, the Loan superviser, together with the leaders of one of the loan groups. The group is made of men from a nearby village who took a loan in order to gather sand from the river bed nearby and stockpile it until they will sell it in the rainy season for a higher price. At that point they will repay the loan in a lump sum, unlike the loans for small businesses who pay monthly. Sand from the river bed is big business, and all through the dry season tipper trucks speed back and forth from the river to Tamale loaded with sand. (They are also a handy way for locals to get to town and back: for 5,000 cedis you can sit on top of the sand, which apparently cushions the bumpiness of the road. You'll often see the tipper trucks completely overloaded with so many people on top, which is really dangerous too - the other day I guy actually died in an accident when the truck's tire burst.) In the rainy season, the trucks can no longer reach the river bed as it is all too wet, so the men's group has used the loan to hire a tipper truck and stockpile the sand until the rainy season, making a profit.
Next pic is Zuwera, the admin. assistant, and Suale the accountant.
Then we have one of our loan recipients, who has taken one of the agricultural loans to help with her rice crop: the group receives money for inputs for their dry season farming, in this case fertiliser, and they will pay it back in a lump sum at harvest time. Usually there's only one crop each year, but these farmers are renting plots near to an irrigation dam so that they can farm in the dry season too.
Next we have (left to right) the Scheme Manager, Mr Isaah, the lady from the loan group, then Mr Iddrisu and then the leader of the group.
Next we have Suale again, and then Mr Issah with the piles of cash collected in one day by the Loan Officers (because of inflation, you have to carry round such huge amounts of cash!)
Thats all for now... more to come in future...
bye for now!