Y12 Business Management and Y10 Business studies students went on a small field trip to interview Ms. Gisma, our local chi lady. Ms. Gisma has been working in the same spot just outside our school walls for more than 15 years. She has provided delicious chi (tea), jebana (coffee), other local hot beverages with various spices and of course legaimat (only upon request these days though) for numerous members of the school community, passer-by, and regulars.
So the story goes like this…Y12 went first - they asked questions about her small business and how she managed all the roles that came along with being a sole proprietor. She also walked us through her typical day. Her early trek in the morning from Soba, setting up her stand which has a great deal of moving parts, dealing with individuals that could have some psychological issues, sitting for hours waiting on anyone to order something, until early evening where she gathers up all her materials again, locks them up in a bundle and starts her trek back home all to do it again the next day. Student’s questions ranged from why she picked this specific location to why hasn’t she expanded her business over the years. The more questions they asked the more you could see Ms. Gisma asking herself “why haven’t I done this?” The students then sat as they sipped chi with milk and munched on legaimat reflecting upon the answers she provided. One student stated “It really puts into perspective the difference in both our worlds, and she’s just just over the wall from us.” This was certainly the most profound statement and in fact quite perceptive. Another student stated “I realized how adapting to your current environment can be difficult and challenging.” This was in reference to the spike in prices and the lack of foot traffic during the time of the revolution.
Then Y10 came along and asked just as impressive questions. Students pressed Ms. Gisma as to why she didn’t expand her business. She finally stated “I’ve been thinking about it and would love to be able to do that, however, money is an issue at this time.” As Y10 momentarily pondered upon those words they instinctively asked “how can we help?” They automatically went into service learning mode. As they sipped on their chi and bit off chunks of legaimat they said “we need to find a way to help her and raise some money but not just raise money we need to do more. We need to speak to Mrs. Wendy.” And they continued discussing the ways in which they could help Ms. Gisma expand her business all because some students asked her some questions.
Once the Y12s were informed they expressed the same natural reaction of “What can we do to help?” And they too started forming ideas and a plan of action.
I am very proud of both year groups for their well composed questions, the thought process that went into it, the concern they have for Ms. Gisma and her family and wanting to simply find a way to make things a bit better for her to continue providing for her and her family.
Currently the students have spread the word and are planning what can and will be done to accomplish the following: raise enough funds to purchase a small kiosk where Ms. Gisma would sell regular staple goods, provide her with a more durable tent cover, and refurbish her current chi stand. There is no doubt in my mind that they will achieve all these targets.
One last note: a BIG SHOUT OUT and thanks to Mr. Scott K. for volunteering to help chaperone.
Ms. Reem Agil