Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mission Impossible?

I don’t think so.  PODA’s mission, vision, mandate or whatever term you would like to use is to partner on projects that will be self-sustaining.  Our goal is to provide infrastructure, seed money, advice, training and/or equipment to help a project.  The receiving partner then must develop ways (with our help) to ensure the day to day management and funding of the project is done.  At times this is difficult but not impossible.  How can it be when there is such an interest in learning and a thirst for knowledge?

While trying to reach sustainability COBRA struggles to make enough to cover their budget.  The first priority is always food for the students, second being compulsory fees for students taking exams, followed by miscellaneous supplies needed to run a school, salaries and then down the list is improvements or new projects.  But what I have seen this past week is progress and we keep talking about that.  Things are starting to turn a corner.  Projects that have had setbacks are now moving forward again.
Today was a day of a thousand purchases – well perhaps a dozen or so.  It just seems like a thousand because you go to a different store (and sometimes more) for each purchase.  What I found interesting is most of these purchases didn’t cost a lot but each helped move a project further ahead.  We bought good tubs to use in the apiary, materials for the sewing project, maintenance work on the sewing machines, repair work on a few storage cabinets, building of a cubby hole storage unit for the teachers and materials for a pop bottle lighting project.

The shopping happened in the afternoon but the morning started with sewing.  They are eager to learn and Loice (sewing teacher) was glad for assistance in organizing the supplies and talking about ideas to further develop the program.  Now that I have met her it will be much easier to send emails through the Head Teacher to discuss the program. 

I spent an hour or so with Robina (Burser) and Robert (Head Teacher) reviewing all the accounting from last week.  Robina is doing great and she says she sleeps more peacefully since all the information is organized. 
We had a special lunch today as Deputy Head Teacher Gideon was announcing to his colleagues that he was going for ‘Introductions’ on April 26th.  What this means is that Gideon will be going to his future bride’s family and asking to marry her.  I was grateful to be part of this day.  In recognition of this day Gideon supplied meat and soft drinks to be included in the lunch.

After afternoon shopping Nelson and I put together a prototype of the pop bottle lighting project.  As a demonstration for the COBRA Board meeting on Wednesday we are going to light up the inside of the little mud hut that is used to house the school dogs during the day.  We thought we would start small!
Nelson is excited to share this project with members of COBRA.  The pop bottle lighting can be used on the grass roofs or a tin roof.  He indicated that the members of COBRA in the more remote areas will benefit most from this.  Here is how the lighting works:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO_BOSjiv1A, there is also a video for tin roofs but the internet does not like me this morning.

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