After an email from Lindy that seemed to change our previous terms, I got a bit worried. The dates had changed and so had the allowances we had agreed on. I wrote to her.
I am not certain if I understand.
1. If we travel to the center on Friday to arrive on Saturday, will
that be a problem? Wangui and I would really like to have a short meeting with the girls before we get into the course material.
2. According to the document I sent you, I had indicated that our
allowances are xxxx Kshs per day, therefore xxxx for the entire
course for both of us. I hope you understand that the worskshop has
taken Wangui and I quite a bit of preparation pre-event. We have
taught this workshop before to slightly younger youths 8 to 14 years
of age, but we felt that we needed to up the score a bit to ensure
that the girls both enjoy and benefit from the course. We have
designed the course specifically for young ladies needing to express
themselves and describe the world from their perspective.
The programme officer assured me that the young ladies are 25 in number. That has not changed has it?
That was the time a bitter taste started to invade the experience. I was not as upset about the change in financial terms (of course I worried that I wouldn’t be able to cover the expenses) as I was about the lack of respect and integrity. Sure things go wrong, but there must be a certain amount of respect about a person’s time. Changing the dates without consulting me was both unfair to me and Wangui, and in the event that I refused to go on the new terms, unfair also to the girls who were apparently ready and excited to be attending the programme. Changing the financial terms was unfair for pretty much the same reasons.
But after a frenzy of discussions with Wangui, my mother, and a dear friend, Wangui and I decided to take the chance and go anyway, with a little assistance on the financial side of course.
By then the Workshop dates had been moved three days from the initial date. That meant we still had four days to prepare. I believe the idealistic side of me gets me into trouble more times than I wish to. Aware that the girls were already awaiting the Workshop, I tried to make contact with one of the people on the ground, but they just did not take my calls. At this point I was pretty certain that the workshop had been canceled.
In spite of my love and desire to do so, I was not going to be able to work with the girls. I wondered about the opportunity lost to the girls and hoped another one would come soon. Then I wrote Lindy another email.
Hope you are well. I am slightly frustrated. I have decided to write
you this long email so you can see why.
See, this workshop is in an area I care deeply about. The empowerment
of young ladies and creative writing. Therefore I have been more than
willing to go out of my way to make it happen. First I made a quote
that minimised on cost, as much as I could…
When you mentioned that you might be strapped of cash, I chose to make
even more concessions. Which I understand you agreed on. You give us
transport, food and board, and you agreed to see if you would be able
to increase the 300/= a day allowance a bit more. I expected at least
500/=. I have spent the last five days sourcing for books, and
materials in good faith. I spent today printing and copying materials
to the count of 25 (Richie mentioned that the girls are 25 in number).
I therefore feel quite bad when I cannot seem to get any communication
from your side.
Richie was to remit the money for transport today so we can make
proper arrangements in time. I told him that Wangui and I would cover
the costs of the printing and copying from our accounts, which we so
far have done.
Richie was also to get word out to the girls to prepare a 600 word
essay/story of their topical choice and arrange for them to meet with
us for a very short time on Sunday afternoon, to allow us to assess
their strengths and needs.
I have explained to Richie we would like to get to the
Mission House on Sunday evening. That way we would have a chance to
meet the girls, prepare ourselves and rest ready for the week of
All my efforts to contact him today have failed because he will not
take my calls…. I would appreciate word, at least from you,
rather than be made to waste my time and effort waiting around and
making preparations for something that is not likely to happen.
You must be wondering why I bothered still. Well, in a short time I am going to switch back to the beauty of working with kids in a creative thinking and writing project. I will post pictures of the girls and us. Then maybe you will understand. Soon, I promise 🙂