Monday 27th of October 2008 - Getting a feel of the mechanisms in the township
Today the logistics team went into Soweto. For our logistic plan we have been talking about aunties, Spaza shops and households as suppliers of used cooking oil, but we didn’t quite know them yet. Even though we have been to Soweto, we have not met people on that level, have not spoken to them. So off we went, trying to get a feel about the mechanisms in the township. We split up in two teams: René and Véronique went with Tsepo of Greenfusion, Bart and I went with Tshiamo.
Every single person we met was very friendly, open and hospitable. From the aunties – women alongside the roads who can cook your food for you or where you can buy small snacks – to the households – semi-restaurants where people can buy food, drinks and sometimes also things like airtime. The couple from the household we visited gave us sandwiches. Despite their poverty, they would not accept any money for these sandwiches. That really struck me.
And then there was the school. We went to the Giyani primary school to find out whether school children could play a part in the collection of oil. At first we were surrounded by little kids, who now all have an Imtech pencil. Then we spoke to three teachers, all very concerned about the education of these children. They were very enthousiastic about the collection of used cooking oil, although they warned us that a lot of the parents of these children simply cannot afford to give away their used cooking oil. It is the only thing they have to feed their children. Very shocking and it showed us that there is a long road ahead in the education about the health hazards of re-using cooking oil. But the teachers were very enthousaistic about the idea, and any compensation is welcome. From paint for the school building to sports equipment. Of course we gave all the promotional Imtech material that we had left to the teachers.
Combined with a visit to the food shops in the railway station and driving back to Melville to reflect on our experiences during a late lunch, this made for another very busy day in Jozi. Tomorrow it is time to write our report. Time really flies.