Vanda Kujbus

Friday, March 24, 2017

Donkerbos - Community meeting

Written by Vanda

The meeting starts at 11 AM, people gather around the tree in the same orientation as yesterday. For me they look like the same handful of people, and wonder where are the others? It is a community meeting after all. They might live too far, it’s hot, and after I experienced how pleasant it is to walk on the sand, I think even I would not bother to come.

Some people stand up, others remain seated and clap for those who speak. Ella says the community representatives have just been introduced and they are discussing what should be on the agenda. I keep my pen eagerly to take notes, but after some time which felt like 30 minutes but probably was around 10-15 instead, they still talk about the agenda. Gosh this meeting is going  to be loooooong...

me listening to the meeting
Donkerbos community members

Topics on the agenda are not really relevant for my thesis, but yet it’s still interesting to have an idea of what are the average problems of these people. They mention fencing issues and illegal farmers who come and squat on their land, Belinda encourages them to clean the office and the surrounding area to make a better impression on any soul, who would happen to find out about their existence and would want to come and help them, and evaluating the currently ongoing projects, like beads, the community garden and goats, brought by the DRFN.

The meeting seems awefully long and everybody is talking over each other, pointing and yelling, that if they want to benefit from the common good, they have to contribute also to the plowing and not only to the harvest. Generally it seems that there are a few people, who are taking care of a lot of things and the rest ..... And this is going on an on again until 2 pm, when the meeting is over.  

Fortunately the ladies have to stay over for a few more hours to get paid for their bead strings, and receive a new 5 kg bag of eggshells for next time, so we can just go around and talk with the people, to figure out finally, what the heck is my thesis going to be about. We grab Oba again, and manage to talk with 4 people, and basically the day is over. We are ready to go back home and figure out what to do.

beads payout
reloading with ostrich eggshell sacks