Embroidery and sewing
The community is so eager to learn that they aren't bothered with the fact that we haven't got a shelter to use as a class yet. They know we are gathering funds for the cinder blocks and want to help us with this goal by applying the skills they learn to do this.
We had groups gather in every area where we held a type of open day for the community to see what we can teach them.
We were lucky enough for a family friend to offer his place for us to stay in while we were getting started with the initial projects. It is situated in Bilene, about an hour’s drive from the organisation's land and is also where Lia has a piece of land that she would like to develop a backpackers lodge on and use it to support MESHO Africa's projects by offering cheaper accommodation to anyone interested in supporting our causes.
The caretaker of this friend's property happened to see what Lia was busy with and called his sisters to come see what they could learn to do for themselves.
Having very little clothes that are not damaged in some way or other was a great motivator for him to try his hand at it along with his sisters.
Almeida was so happy to start learning that he would come back in the evenings when he is done with his day job so he could sit with Lia and learn some more.
We held our open days on the site where the shed was being built on, under some trees along the road so people could see what was going on as they walked by.
The first interested parties were 2 widows will be neighbours and live on the same road along with their children and grandchildren. Both ladies are jobless and have to support their families since their husbands passed away.
We took along a plastic table to work on with a couple of chairs but we never expected that interest would be so great that we wouldn't have enough place to actually be able to start working with people that would like to start immediately as they have nothing better to do that could actually help them survive more comfortably.
More people started showing interest and joined in on the talk about what they will learn and what they can make for themselves, their families and even to make money.
Each time someone joined in tried their hand at the basic stitches the others were trying out and they eventually started trying to help each other too.
There were 6 people interested in signing up for courses and planned to return the next day for more lessons.
A drawback to not having any built facilities is that we are very dependent on good weather. Rain is very unwelcome around the patterns and textiles so we almost had to cancel our 3rd open day. Rose asked us to use her meagre shelter. An incomplete house without any security that is falling apart since she lost her husband and was left with her daughter and baby grandson to support.
We were very happy that we could continue working with the community despite the weather taking a turn for the worse and that it didn't deter them from showing up and letting more people know about what we are doing.
We took the 2 tables we had with all the chairs available to us that we had at our disposal and yet again we didn't have enough place to work because where we had 6 people the first afternoon. We now had to find place for 9.
Some faces from the first open day in another area made an appearance to thank Lia for the work she did on their clothes which they displayed proudly. Almeida brought them along to show the others what they could make on their own despite not having a sewing machine or electricity at home.
We are very glad to report that we have 15 people that will be taking part in what we can teach them with sewing and embroidery. Even Vic ended up helping Lia with some of the students as there were too many to handle in the amount of time we had left for the day.