So if you all want to know what I have been up to lately well needless to say TONS. Those days of wasting away the hours reading and baking dreaming of pastry chef stardom have been saturated by canvasing the town in 100 degree heat and generating participation in it's revitalization. I always knew I could be an activist for change due to the fact that I can't sit still and always need to have my hands in something.
So...amongst my other work assisting in Fair Trade certification and computerization of the Coffee and Cocoa Cooperative, as well as development of aklala batik du Togo and it's upcoming second debut at an international trade show and cinema festival FESPACO in Burkina Faso in the next few weeks I decided to leave my village with some lasting reminders of what they can achieve. Therefore, with constant insistence by a few of my trusted friends and community colleagues, I decided to share my time once more for the realization on the basis of revitalizing the once glorious community center of Adéta.
I may have discussed the desire to realize other community projects in my site of Adéta. I have filed an application with Friends of Togo to start phase one of the project that works towards the rehabilitation of the Community Center of Adéta which has been closed since the late 90’s. With the help of other community members we wish to hold a talent show, allowing participants in all trades from seamstresses to carpenters to musicians to promote their talents through a competition in creativity. We canvased the town to generate excitement through participation in the “Spectacle de Créativité.” In Americanisms…it’s basically like Project Runway meets Togolese Idol meets Star Search in hopes for Extreme Community Center Makeover.
I am currently applying for a Friends of Togo small project grant of $400 to hold the two day event and hope to receive word shortly thereafter to plan to host the event in May. There will also be two soccer matches and one final between the middle school and high school classes that can generate a small amount of revenue to use towards the rehabilitation of the community center.
Phase two of the project is to build a small exposition hall/boutique to promote all the winning pieces and also open up to other community members who wish for an outlet to promote and market their businesses.
With a growing population of over 20,000 and its close location to Kpalimé, the prefecture capital which is the center for handicrafts in the region, Adéta lacks a place to exhibit its skills and promote the local trades. This building with be used as a centralized place of meeting and promotion for all the residents of Adéta. It will also serve as the primary location where many tourists and volunteers who frequent the city can purchase souvenirs and learn about the culture. The revenue generated from sales could be used for the upkeep of the boutique and rehabilitation efforts of the community center. There is a plot of land donated for the installation and we are hoping to budget the construction to under $1,000 in order to apply for the CAPCA (Chicago Area Peace Corps Association) small project grants.
I will post the entire Project Proposal soon, for any of those interested in reading the whole story once I have completed the final budget.
I am also working on the proposal for the construction of the technical center for aklala batik in Kpalimé. We are currently restructuring the association of local artists working alongside Chantal who will occupy its development and promotion. So far we have found a temporary location to display aklala's products in Kpalimé in awaiting the completion of the center and storefront. Here is Chantal on the plot of land she purchased last March....the future site of aklala batik du Togo Boutique et Centre d'Apprentissage et Technique.