Thursday, February 19, 2009

Technology and all that

Many thanks to all the loyal SHONA customers and friends who have visited our new store and updated website.

And many thanks for the technology which has brought us here.

The SHONA women were taken advantage of in the past. Before they joined us, they were part of a sewing group where the manager ate first, and then the men and only at the end were these young women given a cut. But where else could they go? They had no resources to open up their own shops. They had no strong legs to circulate through the market, looking for work. And to be honest, they would have found it hard to convince many customers of their abilities. People see first that they are handicapped, not that they can sew.

But through the miracles of this age, the SHONA women have been able to land themselves in the middle of one the most promising markets of all. the internet. Without having to pay off ten people in the process. The reality that we are able to set up shop online, that we have customers that somehow find us, that we have people across the world who read our stories and is a reality that I wouldn't have dreamed of ten years ago.

Think of all the things you buy everyday. What percentage of the profit from those sales goes to the person who made that item? What percentage of the things you buy are made by a person at all? With the warped speed of technology, in many ways we have lost the personal. Too often our food is cultivated by machines, our clothes are made in assembly lines and when we answer our phones we find machines on the other end. But in another way, the internet has made the world infinitely more personal. I can read status updates on facebook and discover that my friend went to bed at 11:00. I can read status updates on all my former high school students and be scandalized...again and again! I can see pictures of people I went to grammer school with. And you. You can come and visit us, here in Congo.

So please do. Keep reading our blog. Visit our website.

As I exhault in all of this technology, I must admit that I have spent this past week banging my head on the keyboard. As we open our new store online and move away from ebay, I have to figure out how to get traffic to our site. Don't worry there are plenty of resources online. An infinite number of resources with infinite lists of all the things I should do to publicize our website. There are inlinks, outlinks, metatags, search engine submissions, trackbacks, blogrolls...and that is only the beginning.

After a while my eyes start to glaze over. And I go and get a cup of coffee and sit on my balcony for a while to listen to the sounds of Africa and remember where I am. And when I drag myself bag to the computer I remind myself of why I do this. It is so I can introduce you to some incredible women, who deserve this one break.

And I know that if the internet can do anything, it is because it brings us together. SO that I am not really alone staring at this computer wondering how to write a metatag.

So won't you join us? Please share the link to our website! Post it on boards, put it in emails, blogs, websites...As I have come to realize, anything that shows you are reading our website will lead more people to us. And that is all we need.


Anonymous said...

You are very uplifted in this post, compared to the previous. I understand the context in which you wrote. Love y'all!!!!!!!!!You are a true Hero. One unheard of. God Bless you

shona congo said...

Thank you for your encouragement! It means so much to know that you are out there following my posts. Thank you and God bless you as well!