Thursday, May 31, 2012

Maipafolo women’s coop in Tutu

These ladies are fantastic.  Over the past 6 months, Jill worked directly with a women’s coop of 6 hardworking women (and a man).  They have been increasing sales month after month, meeting continually, resolving important issues amongst themselves, saving a portion of each sale into a group savings fund, and improving their customer service interactions.  Not only that, they also took Jill and me under their wing for our time there.  Any question we had or need that arose, they would be there for us.  They will be missed.

It really is comforting to know that they are operating so strongly as a group, though.  That makes leaving a little easier. 

Most days there is no electricity during the day, so working as a group is difficult. The women do have a generator though. One day they chipped in for gas to run the generator and had a group work day.

(Resida cuts bags while Clea and Magaly sew)

(Rosie sewing)

Jill invited another PC volunteer, Juliana out to help set up the shop into a better retail space.  The results were outstanding!


(Jill, Alissa (PC volunteer in neighboring village of Tjaikondre), and Juliana working on the shop. Juliana was definitely in charge with her captain's stick.)

(captain's sticks on display)

(the new look - people were interested in checking out the changes)

(combs and paddles on display)

(the shop aesthetics are definitely improved!)

(this was far from the most white people that have been in the shop at once, some days 30-40 tourists come through, which is great for sales)

When we left the village, the group threw a surprise going away party at our house, complete with bamie (with chicken), an Italian Rum cake, and gifts from the coop. It was very nice of them and we greatly appreciated the gesture.

(presentation of gifts)

(us with one of the captains of the village and the two other Peace Corps volunteers living at our site, Josh and Alissa)

(The majority of the coop - Rosita, Jill, Serwin, Resida, and Clea)

(a view of the party from our front doorstep)

(it's not a party without kids dancing)

(the cake was also a big highlight with the kids)

The group also took us by boat to Atjoni to give us one last goodbye.

(waiting for the boat with Resida and Clea)

(on our way to Atjoni, leaving Tutubuka for good)

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