Recently Sr Marian Bell organised a workshop for the women in Mackenzie, Ndola, Zambia. Here she reports on how the event was received by the women and what it meant to her.
“It was just 9 hours when we arrived at the hall. My heart sank as I peeped through the window – only one lady sitting alone. After all I had said about punctuality… “I hope I won’t bring Sister all the way from Mazabuka, and find no-one here…” However, by 9:15 most of the ladies had arrived and the course began. Sister Felistus Nyirongo RSC taught the ladies ‘20 ways to be good business women’. The ladies were enthusiastic and took it all in. They were given homework.
Next day, the enthusiasm was obvious as the ladies came to the hall, smiling, and even running! After the prayer, there was a recap on the previous day, and they had obviously listened well, and learned well.
After the break, four ladies were involved in a role-play on how NOT to win customers. It was well played and obviously made the point!
The group work was engaging. The ladies were grouped according to the small businesses which they had been building up and running – selling charcoal, cream doughnuts, vegetables, cooking oil, polish, chicken portions and chicken rearing. Their task was to calculate how well their businesses were doing. Are you running at a profit or a loss? How much profit – in a week, a month, annually? Is the business viable? With the two to three year experience of business, they were very clear on what they had spent, and how much profit they had gained, and were very articulate in presenting themselves.
By the end of the workshop I felt energized. I felt so privileged to have walked with these ladies for the past five years. Reflecting on my experience in the light of the General Chapter 2013 document, partnering with these women has been a time of learning for me. They have been my teachers, my mentors. We have indeed reverenced each other and respected each other in companionship at ‘a new table’.”