Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Lesley Dorman
Q: So, you made a concerted effort to bring this about?
DORMAN: Yes, we did, but I think the African women — the Zambian women themselves — some of who came from South Africa, were very well educated women. In fact, there are one or two in Washington, DC, that I keep in touch with. They were very enthusiastic and they worked very hard.
Q: Who bought those crafts that you sold?
DORMAN: That was many of the Europeans and Americans who came to Zambia from Southern Rhodesia. Those people who came up from South Africa were immediately apprized of the fact that there were marvelous crafts at the YWCA. I had really tried to wean off my work so the African women were able to deal with this themselves. And that is why it's still successful.
Q: That's very important.
DORMAN: It's the most important thing!
Q: We tried to do that in Afghanistan, but it didn't work. We realized we would leave a vacuum when we left, but, you know, the thing that closed down our Gift Shop was not that the U.S. Government objected, nor that the Afghan Government objected, but that the American women wanted to be paid for their work.
DORMAN: Well, I think that's sad when you're trying to start something. If you come out with a job, I'm all for it, but there's a time and place for that. The thing about this shop was that it acquired so many different crafts. Inoge Wina, whose husband was minister of finance at the beginning of the Zambian independence, and who had received some education in the U.S. at the University of California, I believe, and I went around on a craft-buying trip. We got crafts down in Livingston and all over the place. We made arrangements for the trucks to come in periodically with the crafts, with the baskets, with the trays, with the masks, and with all the various things they make there.
Q: Did they also have a cottage industry though? Or were you more or less starting it?