Our second visit to the Nytil factory was similar to the first. Lillian and I sat in the waiting room. We entered at the Picfare gate. The diagram on the wall said we were in the “Southern Nyanza Range Factory.”
Lillian brought her one year old baby, Kenneth – “K” or “KK” – he walked around banging on the glass display cases, pulling leaves off of the potted plants behind the chairs we sat on, walking outside and across the parking lot to stare at the three cars, two motorcycles, and “coaster” bus in the parking lot. A few times he walked down the hallway and into the General Managers office. As one hour turned into two, I encouraged Lillian to let K go into the GM’s office and demand that we be seen.
After two and a half hours, we decided to leave. I gave the receptionist our letter and told her to please deliver it to the General Manager. I walked out of the door and was greeted by an older Indian man dressed in white from his visor to tennis shoes. He asked me if I had been helped. I explained that we had been waiting to meet with the GM, but he was unavailable. He introduced himself as Surish. I introduced Lillian, and myself and explained that we were searching for plastic packing straps. He brought us back to the loading bay where hoxes of Picfare stationery was being unloaded. He introduced us to the a short, sweaty Indian manager and security guard, both of whom we had met and unsuccessfully petitioned for straps on our first visit. Again, we explained the purpose of our quest. The lesser manager mumbled something about the policy. Surish escorted us out and encouraged us to meet with the General Manager the following week.
Again, on Monday, Kenneth owned the waiting room. Each employee greeted him, and Lillian and I, as we sat. One woman picked him up and walked away with him for a while. She brought him back happily chewing on her cell phone. Again, one hour turned into two. I decided that we’d visit the lesser manager on our own this time. As we walked to the loading bay, we saw a rubbish heap of blue packing straps. I told Lillian to wait and greeted the security guard as I entered. I saw the lesser manager and asked him if we could pick through the straps outside. He nodded and Lillian and I started to pick. She beckoned the security guard and encouraged him to call her when straps were available. K and I crawled through the dirty wet cardboard and gathered every last blue strap. Lillian left with a sack of straps, which she planned to resell to The People at 2,000UGX per bundle. We obtained a note from the lesser manager giving permission to leave with the straps.
Lillian has visited the factory one or two times each week since my last visit. She was able to get more blue straps from Picfare and some turquoise sraps from Freedum, the uniform compant. She is going to work her way down, through the factory, to Nytil – more fabric and more packing straps in various colors. She’s sold close to 30 bundles of straps. At 2000UGX each, she’s almost doubling her monthly salary
Jinja, Uganda East Africa
To Whom It May Concern:
Please accept The Jinja Empowerment Organization’s (JEO) introduction and submission of a proposal to work in partnership with you and your employees to use your waste material, plastic packing straps, as material for making crafts.
The JEO is a local community-based organization that seeks to uplift local women through creating and selling crafts.
We understand that you have many plastic straps, which after they are used, are destroyed. We also understand that employees take these straps from the factory and sell them outside of the factory. We are ready to work with you in any capacity to organize a system where the straps are collected, organized and sold. We are willing to visit you regularly to collect and sort straps. We also are willing to buy straps directly from you at a fixed price.
Please take this proposal into consideration and feel free to…