Monday, 3 December 2012

Training, tourism, river trips and some local superstition....the adventure continues

So it's two thirds into my posting here at tribewanted and I'm starting to get the feeling that time is coming to end and there are so many things left to do. Ben Keane, one of the founders, was here to give some much needed input in the day to day operations of the team and share with us the vision for Tribewanted's Community Interest Company which is being launched this month. Together we spent a lot of time focusing on training the staff and building capacity.

Due to a blundered budget for a project which has now be halted mid air, I have been spending two mornings a week working with a team of 9 builders to instill the importance of planning and accuracy in relation to construction  This is not any normal training session, the group is made up of men from 18 - 45, some of whom cannot read and write, let alone perform basic, necessary calculations. Those within the group who were lucky enough to finish school, usually the younger ones, have a good attention span and show a lot of interest. As for the older ones, it is a struggle, but fortunately pride and large egos do not stand in the way of learning, it is more to do with a lack of confidence from a severely limited educational background. These men are by no means stupid, just try to imagine what life would be like without the education you received both at home and in school - difficult to comprehend, I know!

Education really is the key and on a very positive note, we have managed to get support from an NGO called Street Child to take over the teacher training and rehabilitation of the primary school in John Obey. This alone is key to the future development of this small community.

This weeks community meeting was set to discuss how the community can leverage the tourism that tribewanted brings to the area, a shame indeed, but as many people cannot comprehend the different needs and wants of visiting tourists there is not much in the way of local produce on sale. Lot's of potential though from making country clothes, to bottling chilli sauce and forest honey.


Selection of local potions 
On a lighter note a road trip to Rogbonko with the girls last week was a welcome distraction. Public transport in this country is an adventure in itself. Courtney and I had meetings with Ben, the founder of TW in the morning, so we left in the early afternoon, bikes to Waterloo and from there we haggled for a taxi to Makeni. All hell broke loose when we refused to travel in the car if the driver allowed 4 people in the front of a small Toyota on a two hour journey along the dangerous roads. Kicking up a stink worked and we made it to Makeni with our limbs intact. From there we took another taxi to Magburka and bikes on a 45 min ride through acres of sugar cane plantations as the sun set. Rogbonko is a locally run eco-tourism project set deep in the rainforest and an idyllic place to chill out, sip palm wine and do what us girls do best; learn how to play stick and tyre a fav game here and buy waist beads (worn to give good shape) and love potions from the local traditional healer .....
Village expert in stick and tyre games!

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks, from a 10 day trip in a dug-out canoe along the Moa river to Tiwai islands, a national park which boasts the highest density of primates in Africa, to Christmas with friends on the islands and working closely with the women of John Obey to build confidence, capacity and hold workshops on health and sex education.

Life is good!

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