Friday, 1 June 2012

Printing, binding, packing

Hazel collating Anuki booklets.

VITAL Module 22 has nearly come to an end. Tonight is the closing meal and participants leave tomorrow. I’ll be leaving with them, to go on a village trip for a week, but that is a story for later.

The last few days have been frantically busy, as teams do final checks and changes, format for printing and get in line to use the printer. That machine has been going almost non-stop and thankfully has been very well behaved. The heat from the it competes with the air conditioner in the print room. The ceiling fan adds a little to the cooling effect, but cannot be on too high else it causes carefully collated pages to flutter about. With up to eight people in the tiny print room at times, the cooler fights hard, and we appreciate any drop in temperature or humidity it can provide. The print room is home not only to two  printers, but also to all the card and paper stock, the industrial stapler, two guillotines, the laminator, a spiral binder with all its associated parts and not enough bench space. Printing, collating and binding all happen in this small room.

Betty and Eric binding Are booklets.
Humidity and printers are not good friends. At night all paper is taken out of the machine and returned to the warming cupboard. This is where all the paper stock is kept so that it remains usable. The stocks in this cupboard have dropped significantly in the last few days as team after team feeds another ream into the hungry machine. With eleven teams printing their translated sections of 1&2 Kings there is a lot of paper being consumed.

I have twice been through the print queue, once with Anuki yesterday and once with Are today. Betty, the mentor for the Are team, is also running as a candidate in the current election. Helping her get her teams books finished meant she could go out and get into campaigning. She is up against some local ‘big men’, so it will be interesting to see how a local woman will fare. Her network is extensive and her faith and integrity are well respected.

Anyway, back to the print room…

Each team prints 30 trial copies to take to their language group for village checking. They also print a master copy to mark all changes on and a series of questions to guide their checking process. Covers for the booklets also need to be printed, with each language group making their own colour choice. Yellow for Anuki, red for Are and blue for Maiadomu, but no one has chosen the pink yet.

Marian binding Misima literacy materials.
Upstairs the literacy room has turned into a book production factory. All through the course the literacy coordinator has been printing big books on A3 as they were completed. In the last few days all these have been taped, stapled and taped again to form a (hopefully) lasting whole.  The final step for all printed and bound books is to package them up with plastic wrap. This keeps them safe from moisture on the boat ride home.

Now that almost every team is done with printing, binding and packing, people have walked into town for last minute shopping. Many of the participants live quite remotely, so have come to town with shopping lists for their village or area. They may not be back in town before the next module in October. Kwadima is loading cargo this afternoon, ready for our departure tomorrow.

Books packed and ready for the journey home.
We’ve had interest from people in joining us as passengers on Kwadima, but the boat is already full. Apparently Goodenough I, the primary transport to and from Goodenough Island is out of service, so people are looking for a way to get home. They may well have to wait for a week to find a boat going where they need to go. The alternative is to go by open dinghy, but it is a long trip for that sort of boat.

So it is that this VITAL module comes to a close. It has been a good month; intense, busy, a steep learning curve, lots of new people and lots of new friends. The next chapter starts tomorrow as I head off to visit the Anuki. Hopefully I’ve packed everything I need, without just packing everything. Mum used to always say on family holidays that “What we don't have we don’t need”. Seeing as my teddy bear got posted on after me at least once, how we define ‘need’ is highly variable and sometimes we do forget things. Hopefully, tired as I am as I pack, I truly don’t need that which I don’t have! Food, shelter and company are provided, for ten days, what more can I need?!

(Amusingly, as I typed that I remembered to add malaria medications to my luggage. Hopefully I don’t need them.)

Update 14 June; 15 min after we left Alotau wharf we realised what we had forgotten- the satellite phone that was our communication for the week. We turned around, picked it up and left for a trouble free journey.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, there needs to be a way to channel the printer air out of the way to set up a pipe system so it gets blown outside rather than into the room?

    I always loved being in the university printing rooms in Winter, but I can imagine that it's far less fun in the humidity... :-/