Woman of all trades

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Armed with the willingness and drive to launch herself into furniture making and tibisiri handcrafting, Pauline Chance, Macasema resident in the Kabakaburi community, (Region Two Pomeroon-Supenaam), is an example of an industrious woman.

Fifty-year-old, Pauline recounted that at the age of eight, her mother taught her how to make tibisiri handcraft. Tibisiri is a thin, pale, flexible fibre derived from the Ite palm, which can be woven into hammocks, bags, mats and baskets.

Pauline Chance, Macasema resident.

For Pauline, the satisfaction and pride she obtains from her crafting is something she willingly imparts to others; providing them with a skill that earns them a livelihood.

“There is a lot of young people and even the older folks who are willing to learn (tibisiri handcraft) in Macasema and because of this, I would train them in the different patterns in handcraft at the Macasema recreational centre or Kabakaburi centre as well.”

She noted, however, that despite some persons express interest, some later discontinue the classes for various reasons. However, for Pauline, the opportunity to teach others is encouragement enough to continue pursuing and honing her craft.

The Macasema resident said at this point, she is also concentrating on ways to expand the market for her bamboo furniture. Pauline explained she was taught the art of making bamboo furniture from Donrad Correia.  In 2009, Correia travelled to China for the purpose of trading, particularly in bamboo furniture. On his return, he conducted a six-month class for Pauline and other interested persons.

After investing effort and labour into her business, Pauline related she temporarily halted work after persons expressed an unwillingness to purchase the items for the price it was worth.

Chance said, “It is really sad to know when we are in here, we do not get the price we want but when you go to the exhibition you get the price. But the exhibition is one time a year and that is in September, the heritage month. We need a market every month or every week. People are willing to work, there are a lot of women in my community willing to work the handicraft but they need more money.”

Being the diligent worker she is, Pauline has resumed her bamboo furniture crafting, as persons have begun to place orders again.  She did highlight that her venture does come with its challenges. She is presently sourcing borax or boric acid which is used for curing bamboo and which is both effective and more environmentally friendly. The cost of the chemical is prohibitive and this has slowed down operations since Pauline is unable to obtain funds to purchase the acid.

Chance is determined that her venture must continue and is appealing for government support to aid her community in expanding the business thereby providing employment for other residents.

The Macasema resident also highlighted that she also farms and produces cassareep, cassava bread, ‘fly’, piwari and casiri.  A true Jill of all Trades


By: Neola Damon


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