We had a bit of a roller coaster this week. On Tuesday Ana and Hailey came for to Tabora and we we established organized departments. The departments are as follows:

  • Finance Department (Mama Asha),
  • Sales and Customer Service Department (Mama Tabia),
  • Production Department (Mama Mwaliko),
  • Purchasing Departments (Mama Agi & Mama Mudi).

Each department has a more defined role in the business and therefore, responsibilities have changed. While the women were very excited about the changes, there was a lot of resistance when they found out that Mama Mwaliko, Mama Agi and Mama Mudi would not be cooking. We wanted to keep Mama Agi and Mudi in the storage room so that we could keep more concrete accounts, writing down each item that’s used in the kitchen. We also wanted to get started on making the labels for the day so Mama Mwaliko initiates that process. The hope was to get the cooks to start cooking around 10:30, instead of 12, and to start packing immediately after the labels are finished.

Although we explained this to the Mama’s the argument was that each member should be able to ‘taste’ the heat of the kitchen. We left the meeting Tuesday with the decision that we would give the new systems a try and adjust if necessary.

On Wednesday, only 4 of the 8 came to the cooking shift. A few were visiting friends in the hospital, but we felt they were trying to make a point about their disapproval of the new system. However, Mama Mwaliko, Mudi, Salome and Tabia came, worked extremely hard and we managed to finish the same amount of bags we had when there were eight women- and it didn’t take longer. The results of the new departments were showing.

Thursday everyone came to the shift and had decent attitudes. We ended up cooking over 100 bags of chips and finished before 4:30. It was clear the benefits of getting a head start on the labels and not having everyone in the kitchen. The cooking day was run much more effectively.

Another change that we made was to give each Mama an hour break in the day. The break is intended to cook for the kids and rest a little, especially for those in the kitchen. The women decided that they’d rather cook their own lunches, instead of having group lunch. We’re hoping that this new system will enhance our social capital in the group. They’ll be able to rest a little, handle the duties around the house and return to work ready to finish in a timely manor.

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