Saturday, September 8, 2012

More needs (Day 689)

This actually happened about 2 weeks ago, but I've just been slow about posting it.  I was talking to Ismael the other day, and he had a few more things to add to his list.

1. It really isn't anything new, but he felt the need to reemphasize the importance.  The universities here will place medical students in their final year in rural clinics IF the rural clinics are properly stocked.  The community has a clinic, but as I believe I mentioned before, it is not stocked.  I do not have a list of what is needed to stock this clinic (beyond a scale), but I will get that list.  This seems like one of the best projects we can do for the community.  (More about their processes in a bit.)

2. He wants a playground for the children.  As you may have seen in my video, the children go to school, but then they come home and work.  Part of the reason is because the family needs the money.  The other part of the reason is because there really are no organized activities nor places for the children to play during the vacation months.  Ismael has already organized a hike for the children, but he'd like more.  For now, we're looking at a swing set and a slide; he also drew something that looked like a merry-go-round.

3. This sort of ties into #1, but it is a separate issue.  The community is looking to "pave" the road to the medical center.  It currently has a dirt path that leads to it.  It has been reinforced with a little bit of gravel, but if the medical center actually gets stocked and can be used, vehicles will be driving over this path.  Between the mud and just the spinning force of the tires, the fear is that the path will be destroyed quickly and it will be more difficult to get to the center.  What Ismael explained to me is that if they can get brick pavers, the road will last.  The community council has apparently already had an engineer in to give them a quote.  He named a price of Q600,000 (roughly $77k).  I looked at that price and said, "That can't be right;"  Ismael agrees with me but says it is what the engineer told him.  We would need to purchase the pavers and we would need to hire someone who knows how to do the job, but I think with a good team of volunteers we could do the job for much less.  We need to find out the base price of pavers and work from there.

4. The final thing on Ismael's additional list is an idea that I like, but I don't like his anxiousness with it.  Let me explain.  Ismael is concerned about the number of women in his community who don't own a güipiel.  This is the traditional top worn by the women.  He thinks they are losing their culture by dressing like Americans.  And, you know, I agree.  He wants to set up classes so that these women can learn how to weave and make their own clothes.  And, you know, I agree.  He wants to purchase the supplies for all of them at the same time (Q100,000), and I don't agree.  Okay, to be fair to him, after debating about this for a good half hour, he told me that the guy would give him a 10% discount on materials if he bought them all at once.  So that is really just Q90,000.  I think it's a good deal to get that discount.  However, I see it as the women learning in classes and then selling what they make to help buy the material for the next women to learn.  A "pay it forward" kind of thing.  The women sell all of their "learner" crafts to support the project, and then they keep their final project--the güipiel--for themselves, their own graduation present.  He still sees them as doing this in groups as I do and them giving back as I do; however he just wants to purchase the first set of materials all at the same time so that they can get the discount.  Maybe I'll acquiesce on this one.

One thing that groups often struggle with is whether or not the resources they bring to a community will actually be used for their intended purposes or if they'll get sold off for parts.  Ismael explained the method which his--and other--communities use.  For example, the medical center is for everyone.  Therefore, they wouldn't just want people to go into the center and take things to sell.  Also, the chicken coops from the other post, while they aren't for everyone, have an intended purpose.   Basically, a community meeting is called.  Everyone who wants to benefit or have a say is required to attended.  There is one person leading the meeting, but everyone has the option to speak and vote.  When they've reached an agreement, they write up the terms of the agreement and everyone in attendance signs the paper.  If anything goes missing or isn't where it should be, the paper is taken to the authorities.  "Here is this person's signature.  They are violating the agreement."  And the matter is dealt with either by repayment of materials or funds to the community.

Last note: Don't forget about the vehicle they hope to have for the medical center!

No comments:

Post a Comment