Ujima

Ujima, the third principle of Kwanzaa (pronounced u-jee-ma), means to work together, or collective work and responsibility. Being in middle school, I do a lot of group work and group projects, and I’ve currently been working on one since Halloween or so.

In my design class, I (along with six other girls in my class) am building a tiny house. Not a scale of a tiny house, like we did last year, but an actual tiny house, that has to be six feet tall and six feet tall. Ours is a PVC pipe yurt, and technically 72.5 inches, but our teacher’s letting us slide after seeing how worked up we got about it. It is only a half-inch, after all.

But in order for a project this big to work, each group member has to carry their weight. (Not that everyone is doing that, which is creating tension within our group.) So, at the beginning of the project, we made a role system so that we’d complete everything. Each of the six girls–we’ll call them Adele (that’s me!), Chanel, Emilie, Gabrielle, Holly, and Mai–has a job they have to complete in order to complete the yurt by the due date (January 26th). Four of the six girls are doing their jobs and more for the group. The other two…well, they’re working on it, I assume. The jobs are as follows:

Holly and Adele: Tarp/Frame (This refers to the construction of the frame and measurement and securing of the tarp. I also have the added responsibility of keeping up with our isometric drawings, since no one else is willing to take them.)

Gabrielle: Roof (She’s in charge of the roof designs and oversees the construction).

Mai: Floor (She’s in charge of the floor designs, if we do decide to build one. Jury’s still out on that one.)

Emilie and Chanel: Interior Design (They’re supposed to be building furniture. We’ve yet to see a piece of completed furniture, but that’s a rant for another time.)

Those are our main jobs, but we often make plans for the construction day based on what needs to get done and how we need to do it. Also, constructing the frame was a three-person job, so we enlisted Emilie to help with that. Even putting up the tarp and securing it requires at least four people. (There are three separate pieces to the tarp.)

This project is almost completed, but we wouldn’t have gotten it done if we didn’t have these specific roles, because if we didn’t, we’d all be stepping on each other’s toes trying to get things done. That still happens sometimes, but thanks to these roles and responsibilities, it doesn’t happen often, and it’s looking like we’ll finish the project ahead of deadline. Well, the outside and frame. Can’t say anything about the furniture.

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2 thoughts on “Ujima

  1. You’re probably right: with the exception of Emilie’s name, all of the aliases start with the same letter of their real names. Emilie goes by a nickname in real life, so hers is a respelling of her real name.

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