As always, we’ve been having an exciting week here at the Hive! Our volunteer, Ramon, has helped us with the tedious task of chopping up all the bits of wood and so forth in the yard to place at the bottom of our brand new compost pile! He’ll also be helping us to finally get our Family Tree up on our entrance wall! At the end of the week, we’ll be bringing in a woman from Spain to come help us. The hope to is have at least one volunteer at any given time to help out with the larger tasks we aren’t able to dedicate our shifts to. So far, it’s worked at great!
We’ve still got guests coming in and, when they can, they usually stay for longer than they initially expect. We always ask if there’s anything that we can improve upon, but so far, we’ve had no complaints at all! It makes us really happy to know that we have such happy guests.
At the moment, we’re in the process of solidifying contacts for our organizational network so we can send volunteers to various places in need of extra hands. We’ve gotten the go-ahead from the town’s social service office, with a list of various orphanages and group homes that really need help. We’re also solidifying contacts with other organizations, such as Las Juanas de Azurduy, CIES, Fundacion Amazonia, Aldea S.O.S, and so on. Along with these organizations, we have had a lot of excitement around our workshops and volunteers ready and waiting to give talks on Bolivian reality and so on. Our February calendar will be short due to Carnaval, but it looks like we’ll be able to offer a couple language exchanges, a basic English class for street kids, and a Mexican burrito cooking class! This month we may also be offering pilates classes in the evenings as well as the mornings. Hopefully next month we’ll have nutrition classes, lectures, and so forth!
Lastly, in terms of the women’s cooperative part of the project, we’re looking at shortening the training period from 6 months to 3 months at this point. For those who aren’t familiar, the idea was to operate the project as a women’s cooperative training center. Each woman would have to essentially undergo training and work for hours a day for 6 months without pay learning how to surmount challenges and work with others in a productive, positive, and democratic way. This is instead of contributing or investing money. One, because not all women will have access to capital in order to buy into the project. And, two, because the most essential part of operating things successfully does not come down to a question of having money or not; rather, it is whether each woman is capable of learning, growing, and working well with others to solve the problems that come up while running a business, etc. After making partner, they would then get a share of the positive cash flow.
According to Bolivian law, this isn’t possible unless we create a formal “training contract”; therefore, we’ve decided together that it’s only fair that if some one has absolutely no chance of making partner, they should be told right away and paid what’s required by Bolivian law to cover the hours of work that were previously unpaid. The goal is that every one makes partner by performing well (and improving) in terms of managing the hostel, running the community center, maintaining a cooperative attitude, and demonstrating leadership qualities. However, not every one who thinks they are ready for the challenge is really ready. Since evaluations (including self-evals) weren’t required until last month, we’ve decided to end the training period at the beginning of April to provide enough time for weekly feedback and improvement. Stay tuned, as this will be an interesting (if not contentious) ride…