A place in the sun

Newsletter May 2016
New Cooking Bag

Ibrahim is walking down the middle of the road, smiling broadly and pushing a full wheelbarrow. The girls follow close behind, giggling and carrying brooms, sweepers, a ceiling mop, buckets and dusters. The carrier moped with yet another load comes humming by slowly. Haruna falls back. He's constantly stopping to tell people along the way where we're going. We have a new workshop!

We've grown. There are ever more workers with ever more children, we've expanded our activities, the flow of children visiting the workshop is still growing, and we need ever increasing supplies of materials to be able to do our jobs. And yet, our available space has always stayed the same. We've had to compromise for a while now. We didn't mind, but still. With 40 employees and a flock of children always running around we all had our own tiny space somewhere, but it was really getting too crowded now.

Ruhaima opens a shiny, new orange door. The Special Workers follow her, step into yet another space and circle around each other to be able to take it all in. The warm colours make the space feel sunny. 'Di viela!', they all cry. 'Great!'. And off they go, to see what's behind the next door. 'Look, a toilet! Wow, a kitchen!' They swarm in all directions. Then, they run outside. They inspect the outbuildings and the large, walled in garden and see if there is any ripe fruit left on the huge mango tree. I feel elated as I watch the excited youngsters and I'm already starting to feel at home here.

The girls clean and sweep, scrub and talk. We unload a large part of the container and get in the way of the carpenters, handymen, painters and electricians. Haruna and Ibrahim rake up leaves outside. We offload the carrier moped and find a space for all our things. It all fits in so wonderfully! There's a whole department for New Cooking Bag, a separate room for Reusable Care Creations and lots of storage space everywhere.

'I also want to be working in the new workshop', Salma declares as we are taking a break and drinking some water in the garden. Everyone agrees and because these special people all have their own tasks within Tuma Viela and will continue to work in the old workshop, we decide to schedule a day for everyone to help out at this beautiful new location. After all, there's always plenty to do.

We also have a special time in the 'old' workshop. Everyone gets a new sewing machine and a different, much larger, working space. The shop where kids pick out their schoolbags, raincoats and other products is restored after having had to make place for the increasing number of workers. I got my small 'office' back. I've had to share it with rattling sewing machines, loud music and chattering women. There's also space for the classroom again.

There's still a lot of phone calls and visits going there and back. 'How are things over there?' 'We have no running water today, can you bring over some jerrycans?' 'I can't find the agenda anywhere, is it with you?' 'Ibrahim was here early this morning, I just thought I'd let you know. He was wearing working gloves. He didn't want to go to school, he wanted to work in the garden instead.' And every time someone goes to the other workshop for a certain job or to help out, they must be sure to give the others everyone's warmest regards.

It's a WAT relationship: Working Apart Together. And it works out fine!

Our new accommodation. What a terrific building, on such a beautiful location, and surrounded by a great yard!
In our new building. Making platforms to keep the rolls of fabric raised off the ground.
In our new building. Giving the floors a good sweep. It's much faster than hoovering!
In our new building. Pieces of fabric are neatly folded and stored in one of the many cupboards in our new workshop.
In our new building. Peepholes.
In our new building. De shed is the perfect place for storing the finished NCB's before they go on transport.
In the old building. There's room for our shop again, with Ayisha and Mary as store keepers.
In the old building. Rukaya is very proud of her new sewing machine. Many thanks to the Gered Gereedschap foundation.