As many of you know I’m working in the DRC, and have been for a couple of years. All of my jobs in the Congo so far have been on mines, and mines always kill trees. You just have to look through my blogs and projects to know that I hate seeing a tree go to waste.
On my first (and second) Congo mining job I made an offer to the Mine – Give me an equipped workshop and your dead trees, and I’ll teach the locals woodwork in my spare time.
The reason is three-fold:
a.) I hate wasted wood
b.) I need something productive and interesting to do with the (very) little spare time I get
and most importantly-
c.) Out here in the rural areas, most of the locals have ZERO marketable skills. We even have to teach many of them how to use a handsaw, and power tools are so far removed from their experience, they might as well be from a sci-fi book. Most have never seen or heard of a wood chisel before. Many have never earned more than $20 in any month in their entire lives. When the construction phase ends, the number of people employed by the the mine will reduced drastically, and I believe we must leave them better off than when we arrived. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.
Anyway, on my previous jobs, my offer was refused with “When the mine starts making money, we’ll start our social upliftment projects”.
I think it’s going to happen this time. I have spoken with my Construction Manager and the mine’s manager of social projects, and they are keen. They asked me to prepare a collection of photos to show what I can teach, and a preliminary budget to equip a wood school. The facility is not a problem, as the mine already has a training centre that is currently underutilised. Previously they built the training centre to train people in Mine related activities, but there is a significant space that is unused.
Our first obstacle will be to get the Mine manager to approve the idea and budget. He’ll be back on site in a few days and then the 4 of us (Construction manager, Social manager, Mine manager, and me) will sit down to explore the idea further. I have been led to believe that he will eagerly support the idea, but that budget may be a bit of an issue. Already some people are talking of holding a fund-raising event to help make this a reality.
I’ll post progress on this project from time to time and, whenever possible, I’ll post pictures as well.
As LJ member Todd A. Clippinger says “Share the Love~Share the Knowledge”
Wish me luck !!!
-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.