Friday, October 12, 2012

Getting to know you

Friday 12th October

I easily get distracted by computers. I see a process on paper and think that I could do it more efficiently by putting together something on the computer – usually a database!

So I have spent a little bit of time setting up a form to collect data on egg production. Davidson is not at all familiar with computers but was soon entering the data. It might be helpful and it would do no harm for Davidson to get some exposure to the computer. I could link it to the accounts records – but I think that would be a step too far at the moment.

My main task has been to get to know the staff at Kaliyangile. Yesterday I talked to Davidson and Robert – the tailor. Davidson has been with the project since it's inception and has been very loyal and hard-working. The recent re-introduction of chickens has meant that he has to work every day – if only to collect the eggs.

I enjoyed talking to the staff, picked up a number of good ideas and a better understanding of some of the requirements that are not currently being met – particularly in relation to training equipment.

Today I arranged to meet all the staff as a group to discuss the project and get some discussions flowing. I found the session very helpful - there was a lot of interaction and some positive ideas came forward. I was impressed that the staff were all very much in line with regards the aim of the centre – that being to make sure that the students had a good future beyond their training. As one of the staff put it – he would rather that a student finishes with something that will provide for her and her family in the future and fail the exams, than receive a certificate and sit at home doing nothing. This is not to decry the qualifications, but in themselves they are not the objective of the training.

At the end of today's session I powered up the computer to show the Hands Around the World website and the link to Global Giving - where details of the Kaliyangile project can be found. I also showed the links to this blog. Finally I logged onto Skype where we found Jim. He is keen to establish a bee-keeping course here at Chisamba and has been in touch with Bees For Development who are considering providing some support. In addition to the training, the idea would be for the centre to make the protective clothing, bee-hives and possibly “smokers”. We must have talked via the computer for about 30 minutes. For some of the staff this was their first opportunity to experience this technology.

Last night I joined my friends in the bar for a pint and a chat. It can be quite interesting when we talk about the project. I pick up some information about the local perceptions and sometimes try to correct a few that are off the mark!

It was back to fish yesterday, though on Wednesday the chicken was very good. Here chicken comes in two varieties – chicken and village chicken. Chicken is what we are used too – although much tastier than the caged variety we might get from a fast food chain. Village chicken is something else. I expect these are the birds that run around everywhere feeding on what they can find. They haven't a great amount of meat on them, but the flavour is wonderful. Much richer than the usual bird. I am sure that it was a village chicken that was served here.

Best wishes


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