Haven’t written in a while. I guess after so much time here, the machetes, weird creatures, weird sicknesses and all the other bizarre, daily surprises have just become part of my normal life. These days I’ve been recovering from the Chinkunguyna (some days everything still hurts!) and been busy with my projects. Two of my business students were selected to compete at the National Constuye Conference, where they’ll present their business plans for a chance to win the capital to start their business! And as for the women’s group, the renovations and work on the their workspace has finally begun!
As part of the project, a Dominican laboratory gave a workshop to the women about hygiene in food preparation and also about cacao. The teacher was dynamic. It was a three day workshop and in these three days I saw a change in the women. The day of the graduation (pictured below) they glowed. They looked and felt empowered with their new knowledge and encouragement. They divided their workspace into new areas, the office, sales area, production area and storage. It’s a small step but it’s progress!
The workshop also showed the women how to control their production. We now have a notebook that logs who works on the production of what products, what days. Also we set time limits, temperatures and other parameters to make our products more consistent. The best part was the women were involved, absorbing every word and piece of knowledge the teacher had to offer. We still have a long way to go but I can see a definite positive change in the group and their work.
In addition to the workshop we have been working on the renovations for the women’s workspace. The plan is to make the space more appropriate for food production so the women can get their public health registrations, which in turn will open up larger more formal markets (aka supermarkets). These renovations are still in the early stages, architects making plans and budgets, but I can’t wait to see the finished product! The important part is the women themselves can’t wait, they have started on their own renovations.
They were told it would be good to close off their property with a tree line. The trees will attract insects that would otherwise enter their workspace. So the tree line works as a repellent, as well as its aesthetic appeal! I thought it’d be a lot of work but yesterday the women got down to business and within an hour had all the trees planted. (Pictures Below). Everyone brought a machete, three women brought the trees, four others brought the shovels and quickly got to work. One measured the perimeter, while another marked it, Oliva dug holes while her granddaughter planted. It was a community and family affair like most things in Corozo. These women are like a well-oiled machine when they work together. They laugh while they work, sometimes disagree in the process, but always get the task done. I love watching them work and can’t wait to see what they accomlish in the future.
Everything’s a family affair!
Finished, with our new logo and sign and the trees. Starting to look professional!
(Pictures won’t upload but hopefully I can get it to work later. Sorry!