BBL PARTICIPANT: Lebogang Masilela, Verena D, Mpumalanga
In a Nutshell
Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Lebogang Masilela has gained the skills to provide food for her family.
She has also developed an understanding of budgeting and saving that she is successfully putting into practice.
Further, she has taught her son many of these skills and his enthusiasm and commitment inspires her every day.
I used to spend a lot of money on ice cream – especially vanilla ice cream, that is my favourite. People think I am joking when I talk about my ice cream habits, but it really was a lot of money. Before I met Mama Damba and Pastor Damba from SocioTech, I was buying at least 5-litres every two weeks.
You don’t need to be a doctor, a dentist or a finance specialist to understand that a single person eating 10-litres every month is not healthy for the body or the purse! It is also not good for children to see adults eating badly. I have a 9-year-old son and how can I tell him he must eat healthy food if I am not doing the same?
Through SocioTech I have been able to see what else I could have been doing with all the money that I was spending on ice cream. I am using the ice cream as an example, but it wasn’t the only silly thing I bought. I was spending on items I didn’t need.
I have always loved gardening but water here is a problem so I had never thought that I could turn that gardening into a business. Through Mama Damba, I began to see that all the money I was spending on ice cream and other silly things could be better used in my garden.
Through SocioTech I learnt about developing my soil and growing God’s way – organically, without chemicals. Trenching is amazing. And mulching. It all helps. Our land is very dry and water is a big issue, but this way my soil is keeping so much more moisture in.
"... I had never thought that I could turn that gardening into a business."
I no longer go to the supermarket. I just go to my garden. And you know what? The vegetables I grow taste better than anything you can get at the shop. Even my son, who was not very fond of vegetables before, is happy to eat the vegetables he grew himself. A nice soup or a stew with lots of vegetables from your own garden is a wonderful thing. I think it is good for a child to pick and eat a tomato straight from the garden, still warm from the sun. Not only because it tastes delicious but also because they see the connection between hard work and happiness.
Through the Dambas’ teachings, I am learning how to plan and budget and save. I have set myself a goal of saving up to get a borehole. I know that they cost a lot of money and that reaching that goal will take several years but, if I just keep away from the ice cream, I think I can save that money. Every time I think about buying ice cream, I go into my food garden. I look at my tomato and spinach and onions all growing so nicely and I remember my borehole plan.
My friends in this SocioTech training group are also part of my strength and my focus. It is so good to have people to listen and share and grow with. I feel like I am part of a community that supports each other. That is one of the best things to come out of these training sessions. Through the training we have come together. We have been taught to think and act together as a community.
My son also inspires me to save. As parents we think that our role is to guide our children – and that is true – but often they teach us life lessons too. My boy has a little box for saving his pocket money and he is very responsible about not spending it. I take my inspiration from his strength. If he is being disciplined and not buying ice cream, why would I buy ice cream?