When I last wrote about this on 12th October, the project was in its early stages. Now it is nearly complete. It's been a perfect equilibrium between intriguing, heartening, frustrating and infuriating.
All of our final visits went fairly well because I warned them in advance through handwritten notes (delivered via the usual fluidities of the Rupununi Cowboy Express) with individual’s names on them.
Some of the complications of the project were never solved. Sand Creek is still utterly innocent of any plans to build the long-awaited sewing centre. They are also the only village that complained that they did not get their fair share. ‘Fair share’, that is, of a free gift for which they had done nothing, with no strings attached. My child-id is very tempted to rush back there and rip the carefully selected supplies out of their ungrateful and petulant hands. My adult-ego recognises that it takes a lot of high-handed outside interventions, a lot of white parachutists, to create an atmosphere like that. (Still want to slap something, though!)
I have written into the final report a collaborative workshop next Spring, when two women from each village would have transport paid to come together for two days and discuss how best to run their sewing centres. I hope the funders agree to it. The village women will do a better job together than I could, going round running 'group management training'.
Village Two (The Privileged) got only dregs but remain positive.
Village Three got most things and will get their requested training too.
Village Four got parts to repair the existing machine instead of a new one.
Village Five got several new machines to help them create their new generation of seamstresses.
And Village Six got quite a lot and then complained.
Dependency culture is a massive curse here. In the Pakaraima mountains apparently it is even worse. Don’t get me wrong. Money is good. Donors are generous and to be applauded. But I am SO glad that I do not spend most of my time implementing funding projects! I WOULD eventually slap someone!