It was exhausting and I was also down with a bad cough and fever - so it was quite a bit of effort to hold up. But the project is growing well - and it is so rewarding to see the difference.
I managed to go up to the last village, Yakepa which is about 37 kms from the previous village and it took us about 18 hours to get there - getting stuck in mud and trying to build little bridges across broken roads etc. But people were so excited when we got there. I travel on my own with the project team from there itself.
They had kept the quilts with them. They had carried it up previously when we brought it up to the second last village. I distributed them and have some photos and also took a small video clip. A very sad story in the midst of all this joy was that one of the small babies (6 months) who was on the list to receive a quilt died that night ( I am not sure, but I think it might have been pneumonia) . It was so tragic that next morning her father was there and he told me. I handed him a quilt (one of the smaller fleece blankets you had made as extras) so he could wrap the child and place her in the grave. They can't afford coffins.
Thanks for collecting all those quilt. I am still trying to work out how best to transport them. One of the feedback from this project is that we are working with the tribal community as partners - not as charity or aid recipients So we have been thinking of some ideas in which we can work with your Quilt Collective - so that it becomes an enterprise. There were a couple of suggestions of (a) making them and also teaching them (via handouts and video) so that they can sell and develop skills and a livelihood (b) create a partnership so they can share the making and we think of selling these quilts internationally with special logos etc.
I am meeting with a couple of my Masters students next week to discuss further - and we might all meet together and talk more. That way, there is also a couple of students who can be more regular than me.
I am happy to speak at the Probus Club. I am in Melbourne for a little while - (Sydney trip - 10th to 14th Nov), and another trip on 10th Dec. But otherwise, we can try and schedule something in. I can also show the 35 minute new video I have made of my work there. Just doing last minute edits on it.
I am attaching a couple of photos. Will download the video and bring that up to you soon. I will attach the photos in separate emails.
love and thanks for all your dedication and work
Dr. Yaso Nadarajah
Senior Research Fellow ( Globalism Research Center) & Lecturer
School of Global, Urban and Social Studies