What an incredible week!

Newsletter December 2010
Tuma Viela

Sister Fawzia has spoken with the employees on her own initiative. She thinks we should actually continue working in 2011 even if we are going to have to do without wages initially... Her reasoning is that otherwise we’ll be sitting at home doing nothing anyway so we might as well show the people that we take things seriously and there is such a high demand for our products!  I totally agree! Some employees are of a similar mindset, others want to think it over...Great!

A large clean-up had been planned in Tamale on Saturday. This appears to take place once in a while. All the shops are to remain closed, the market is not allowed to open until the activity is finished and Tamale looks half decent again... Sister Fawzia got word of this on the local radio station and told us about it. I smelled an opportunity  and suggested we go to the radio station. They could broadcast for us to people that if they hand in water and ice cream sachets at the Tuma Viela kiosk, in return, they would get to choose on of our items...
Immediately Fawzia and myself, towing a few of our products, went to the station. They were so enthusiastic that we were broadcast live on the spot to tell our story: what we do and what we want to achieve...
The owner of the station was so happy with our initiative and he spoke with us after the show. He told us how he is willing to help us, how he owns an event planning agency, and therefore knows the right avenues: He would like to officially ‘launch’ our workshop somewhere mid-January. He immediately hit a sore spot and named a few people and organizations who would not be able to get out of helping us. He wants to approach this professionally and on a large scale and is very involved. When I informed him we don’t have money for something like this, he assured me he would find a solution... 

This morning the interview was repeated on the radio with an eager summon by the owner personally to hand the sachets in to Tuma Viela, instead of throwing them out on the street.

The clean-up day was the perfect opportunity for Tuma Viela to present itself. A good moment to take a group photo of the ‘Tuma Viela’ team!

Armed with our garbage-bags, in which we collect the discarded water and ice cream sachets, and with a schoolbag as an example of what we make, we took to the road early. We stood out...mainly because we seemed to be the only ones taking any action! Most people knew it was ‘clean-up day’ in Tamale, it had been announced so many times over the radio...but in the streets of an awakening Tamale, no activities that were even remotely connected to cleaning up were to be seen...
Yes, the women were sweeping, this is part of their daily routine, but as usual, the mess was swept straight into the open sewers or dumped in a heap beside the road. How disappointing...But, this means more work for us! We work at the taxi stand, the bus station and maneuver through the many tradesmen and women at the local market.
We are followed by shy and hesitant children and we explain to them what they need to do to obtain a schoolbag.
On the market we take advantage of some great sales that we just can’t resist! We are having so much fun and people seem to enjoy seeing us so busy and are often full of admiration how we make something so useful out of something apparently so useless...TRASH!

Also, we have been filmed and interviewed by TV Ghana and this shall be broadcast nationwide! What an incredible week! All of a sudden good things are happening!

The employees gave me the “We told you so!!” speech, and this is true: every time doubts arose within me, about how to continue, they would call out, almost in unison: “Nawuni son!” - “God/Allah shall help!” and: “Nawuni larrege!” - “God/Allah shall bring money....”