Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making toys for the Village Kids.

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Things have been going well for the village. We have found a very good balance. We have what we need without increasing our wants. Let me explain. Just a year ago we had to carry our own water from the river to the village. The only electricity came from my small generator I had brought with me, and our whole village was a big sewer system.

Our economy was built on a pineapple crop that was hit or miss. When we missed we did not eat. The biggest issue on the pineapple crop besides rain was fertile ground. If we could afford to buy elephant dung for the fertilizer we would have a great crop otherwise nothing.

In the last year we have installed 2 compost toilets, we were able to do this thanks in a large part to Chephart Yosh’s financial donation. These compost toilets have now helped us reduce our dependence on elephant dung for fertilizer as well as reduced the raw sewage in our village.

We built a wind generator / water pump with the help of my friend Ray Mathis of Tutto Metal Design We now have more predictable electric power and also fresh running water.

Our economy is good in that we now know have a predictable crop of pineapples that we sell to other villages and to people in Gaborone.

With all that said we have met our needs, but we have controlled our wants. Sure it would be easy as we build our treasury to install a toilet in every hut, but do we need that or just want that?

Right now our electric usage is dedicated to my poker play, a small refrigerator for medicine, and some lights, again meeting our needs, but maybe not our wants.

As life has gotten easier in the village we want to control the desire to make it easy for the village to lose its way.

One thing we have neglected is the kids, not in any physical way, and sure they have benefited from not having to carry the water from the river, but we thought we should teach them some skills that would benefit them in the future.

We thought get them some toys, then we decided that would go against our “NEEDS” vs. “WANTS” philosophy. So instead of getting them toys we would teach them skills that could be use to make toys. And later in life these skills will serve a more practical purpose.

I invited my friend Ray Mathis for Tutto Metal Design over to help us with this project. Ray is a very talented metal worker. Ray brought his nephew Sam. Ray thought, is if he is going to teach kids how to make toys it would be easier if he had a kid with him.

As you can see from the pictures and video, Ray and Sam showed the kids how to make a boat out of copper. Teaching them metal working skills while at the end having a toy boat to play with. Sam was going to give the boat away to one of the kids, later we decided to have Sam take it home, the village kids will build there own toys. Ray was generous enough to donate some of his older equipment and also some scrap metal for the kids to use.

It ended up being a great experience. Many of the older villagers got as much out of it as the kids did.

As village life continues to evolve and we mix the old with the new the village elders have agreed to work hard to clearly define a "NEED" from a "WANT" and to stay focused on needs only. As we become more developed I am sure it will get harder and harder.

It was clear that compost toilets were needed. We needed the fertilizer and it solved a huge health issue with the whole village being an open sewer.

On the other hand when we decided to add the water pump to the wind generator was that a "NEED"? Without the water pump we had to carry the water from the river to the village. While this was hard work done mostly by the women and children was it a problem that "NEEDED" to be fixed or we "WANTED" to fix?

These are tough questions that we have to resolve and really there is no right or wrong answer, time will tell if we do things right.



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