Saturday, February 2, 2013

Red Team, Blue Team

The two reoccurring issues I faced when first arriving back to Mahima Creations were:

1... "How come she's working, she has a husband and is not a widow!  Why then can't I work, too?"  and...
2. "What are you doing here today? It's not your day to work, your day is tomorrow!!"

One of the first things I did to try to quell the dispute over who could legitimately work and who couldn't was to require government issued IDs that stated clearly if one was a widow or not.  This worked well, though we did go through a rough time having to let go of some long time friends who clearly where never widows.  In the long run, the group seemed to appreciated the stated and enforced boundaries.

Next was the issue of the ladies showing up to work on their days off and creating a ruckus among the scheduled workers.  I can fully understand how this happens.  When my kids were in school and had summer breaks, often times I didn't have a clue what day it was without the regime of a school schedule to keep me on track.  How much harder must it be for these women with no calendars, no TVs, no radios, no electronic devices; shut-off and shunned by society in general and local shelters in 

particular...who can blame them for showing up on their days off?  They don't know what day it is!!  For most of them, their days just melt from one into the other with no seam of demarcation.  The highlight of their timeline is often coming to work at Mahima Creations.

To prevent further scraps from breaking out in our otherwise peaceful work circles, I gave each lady a card with a red or blue dot drawn on it, and unceremoniously the "Red Team" and the "Blue Team" were born.  On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I'll hang a tag with the red dot on the front gate and also on our front door, letting the women know that if they are carrying a red dot card i.e. members of the "Red Team"  they are working that day.  Same goes for the "Blue Team" on alternate days.   This simple strategy has proven to be most efficient and well liked by all the women working here.  Peace has been restored!!  Of course, everyday, every widow is welcome to come and share tea and biscuits with us!!

I would highly recommend this method for anyone dealing with scheduling issues where the workers don't have on-going access to the times and dates, and English is not clearly spoken nor understood.

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