Our work in Tabora is constantly in flux. Our orders for chips and peanuts grow and shrink, our daily tasks get interrupted by some unforeseen complication, and our goals are always being adjusted to better suit our partners and the situation at hand. It has been really important for us to take set-backs gracefully and learn to work around them while still remaining as productive as possible. We are learning how to anticipate and plan for complications as well as how to deal with that one overlooked complication that inevitably pops up.
Two weeks ago we were ready to start building solar dryers in Tabora. This was a process that took several months. We went through the long planning stages of getting our prototype built–which involved several meetings with Fundi David, returning to the drawing board half way through to make a new design, and even making edits while Fundi David worked to build our vision. We then purchased all the supplies for four solar dryers, got the supplies, and the prototype, to our house in Tabora and planned our first building day for Fundi David to come and build with our partners. We called all our partners together and planned our schedule. Everyone was ready to go!
Then we could not get a hold of Fundi David. We tried calling over the course of several days and no response. Emma finally had the idea to call one of our Korogwe bajaj drivers, Twaha, and ask him to go to Fundi David’s workshop and see what was going on. Twaha called with bad news. Fundi David was in the hospital!
This was the one complication we did not plan for. We never thought that Fundi would get hurt and be unable to build the first round of solar dryers. And Fundi David is the only fundi in Korogwe that knows how to build our model.
So what did we do? How did we handle this set back?
First, we had to laugh. In Tabora we always find the positivity and the humor in our own mistakes, because it helps keep us going. After we laughed, we realized that there was plenty of other work that could be done in Tabora despite putting solar drying set-back. We were able to spend time with our partners outside of work. We asked Mama Hasani to teach us how to cook our favorite Tanzanian dish, kachumbali, which has tomatoes, onions, cabbage, lots of oil, and lots of salt, and got to have big feast with her family. We had time to focus on large orders coming in for our new product: fried peanuts. We had more time to plan our bi-monthly inventory of kitchen supplies. We were able to enhance one of our Q2 goals by working on a rubric for each partner that outlines her specific job in the business and the tasks to be completed each week.
We certainly managed to stay busy, despite this set back in our calendars. We have planned to begin building this Wednesday and hope that there will be no more unforeseen complications with our building day. Fingers crossed that it stays sunny!
We hope to complete the skeleton and main parts of four dryers before the New Year. Christmas will put a slight hold on our schedule, but we need time to celebrate with the entire community of Tabora and eat some really great food!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone reading! We appreciate your thoughts and words of encouragement as we ring in the New Year!