Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Women's Sewing Co-op: Working hard, on a deadline

Three weeks ago, a friend asked me to send some of the Women's Sewing Co-op beach bags to her boss, who was staying at Kendeja. I sent Solomon with the bags and his ID card. He returned with a little note that said, "550 bags to the US by 5 April," or something close. For weeks, I'd been complaining to Nate that we were never going to move our Co-op stock, which we (the organization) buy from the women at monthly meetings, effectively assuming the project's financial risk. I did quick math and figured that the stock I'd been worried about moving was less that 200 bags. We were going to have to move, and move fast.

Before I agreed that the Co-op could meet the order, I needed to do some research. How would we get the bags there on such short notice? Could the women sew 350 bags in a month? More importantly, did they even want to?

I made a few phone calls to Robertsport, mentioned the idea to the Co-op Team Leaders and got their enthusiastic vote of approval. They wanted in and better yet, they thought they could do it. So Nate and I purchased 45 African suits worth of lapa--over 400 yards of cloth, a bunch of thread and headed to Robertsport.

Three weeks later, the women are on schedule and this Sunday, when we have our meeting, will probably all be needing Thai massages for their necks and shoulders. I will keep you updated on the order, as it's a big one and I'm sure will be a good story to tell.

2 comments:

  1. Elizabeth, Wow! That's amazing! Such as big order and done by the women on time and you got the buy-in from the women so it became their effort. Way to go! You are doing Peace Corps without the Corps. M

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  2. Lovely! Tell the women their bags are going around the world. I am using the sea shell bag at the Engineers Without Borders conference in Denver. Those are amazing women!

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