a colourful journey

japan_visitors

Energy from our Japanese visitors!

A quick post about energy…the presence of and the lack of.

We are energised and enlivened following all our visitors. Jonathan and Yuko are back home in Japan but we are missing them and valued so much their encouragement, wisdom…and Japanese sweets.

Yuko ran some impromptu beading instruction sessions and shared some gorgeous designs that we are going to trial with ACP. She bought a wonderful and delicate Japanese sensitivity. Some of us here can be a bit in your face with our jewellery.

yuko_beading

Beading lessons

They loved our pickles and saw the clothing the tailoring ladies produced. Both provided a wonderful sounding board for us based on their experience in so many areas. They listened patiently and sympathetically to our tales of woe about load shedding which they experienced first hand. A massive lack of energy.

For some time, we had only three hours of electricity per day and on some days that was between 3.00 and 6.00 a.m. When we did have electricity, it was not enough to get our oven for bead cooking up to the required temperature. This meant batches of undercooked, brittle, useless beads. And clay is so carefully used here!

Our solution was to carry the oven back to Kopila’s house to use at night when the power was a tad more consistent. Variable temperature control takes on a whole new meaning. As you can imagine, shortages have been a source of massive frustration for the ladies doing the computer training too. They have been going to training at various times as soon as there is a hint that the line may be on. Planning has become a challenge.

After much consideration, we have decided to purchase a generator. There is not even enough power to run an inverter, the common way of augmenting the electricity supply.

This is a big and unplanned expense for us but there really are no alternatives and our orders from ACP have been coming in steadily. If some of the ladies are to be self-sufficient selling the polymer beads, we need to be able to deliver those beads in a timely and predictable and well-cooked manner. We can’t afford to lose more polymer clay.

We are hoping to be ready for web-site sales later this year so we need to be able to have at least one hour of reliable and predictable power a day. We are aware of the environmental concerns and will be very careful about our use of the generator-not running it for fans although that would make life more pleasant!

Later in the year, when we are on top of our ACP orders and can get to work on other things, we will sell some special items wherever we can to retrospectively raise some funds for the generator but any small donations now would be most gratefully received.

Eating sweets!

Eating sweets!

The intensive phase of our course is almost over. The ladies are now focussing on the income generation skill component and on coming up with their own “Ma sakcchu” (I can) goals of what they’d like to acheive in the next six months.

It has been exciting listening to them share their plans and dreams. Some plan to set up a small business selling their pickles door to door; others want to take their tailoring further and yet others are working out how to raise money making beads to get more computer training in specific areas like typing up documents in Nepali font, or getting Photoshop skills so they can work in photo labs which are just starting to be set up here.

It is a testimony to their resilience, courage and bravery that they have so much energy in spite of the many obstacles. As I type now, we are experiencing another “indefinite strike” called by the Maoists that will again bring industry to a standstill and result in even greater food shortages in isolated areas. Travel will be limited to rickshaws and motorbikes. Shops will be closed-the owners “punished” if they try to conduct their businesses.

In this climate, sustained hope and optimism is very admirable. And energising.

A Colourful Journey

A Colourful Journey