Monday, July 4, 2011

Genesis co-op goes to Costa Rica!

The Genesis co-op is back from another international training! Last week the entire co-op went to Costa Rica and spent the week in technical training with an industrial engineer who has 25 years of experience producing cotton yarn.

The training focused on the opening and carding process (the first part of yarn production) and went through what happens to the cotton fiber in each machine as well as getting very technical – for example, if your yarn has a defect every 10 cm, h0w do you figure out which cylinder in the machine to check first to find the problem?

During the time in Costa Rica we made a visit to the folks that knit and dye the organic cloth, and also were able to visit a working acrylic yarn factory and a closed-down cotton yarn factory. At the cotton spinning plant we were able to see and touch the machines that we’d heard about, look at all the different functions and cylinders and pinions and see the machines and ducts in their places in the factory. The factory was the same size as the Genesis building, and so it was easy for everyone to see how machinery like that would fit in their building. When the co-op went to El Salvador, the factory was so huge and so modern, that it was a little hard to imagine being able to reach for that kind of goal. On the other hand, the factory in Costa Rica helped the group to ground itself by seeing a factory that feels attainable.

Although they had to get passports and visas to travel to Costa Rica, the Genesis folks took this last trip in stride. They were relaxed during the trip and felt less anxious about leaving their families. In the training, Pablo was the first to answer the mechanical questions every time. Natalia related what she was learning with her experience working in one of Nicaragua’s yarn plants in the 1980s. Jamileth applied what she’s learning in her Sunday mechanics class, and put on her work shirt as soon as we walked in the factory so she could get into the machinery. Geovanny, who is studying accounting, was the first to come up with the solution to the mathematical equations for working out quality control. Janneth walked around the plant pointing to the machinery and explaining its function to other co-op members. Overall Genesis took advantage of the trainings, and they came back energized and ready to get to work.

Now that the Genesis co-op is back home, they are concentrating on finishing their bathrooms and break room and evicting from their building the doves that have taken up residence in the rafters with the hope of being able to get opening and carding machinery within the next few months, pending funding, of course. -- Becca