Monday, October 5, 2015

Haiti Trip Take 2: Part 2

I had a mission: teach women to sew. 

 It had been unclear what was going to happen before we arrived. I was told there would be four women ready to sew, although we had been told earlier that it was going to be six. There were three. We thought we were going to be making garments, but ended up focusing on making small bags. We thought we had a manager that was going to be there, but she was in the US when we arrived in Haiti. Things were not lining up the way we assumed they would.

It was our first day in Kenscoff, Haiti. We had organized all the sewing supplies the day before and the room was ready to go. Then the news came: there was a miscommunication and some shuffling around, but there were only three women coming the next day. Not only so, but the manager of the sewing program was in the US and we would only get one day to train with her at the end of the week. We had worked hard raising money, collecting donations, and preparing to help set up this program; this was discouraging to all of us. We decided to invite some girls from another orphanage down the road and teach them to sew!

The next morning was exciting! The first woman to come through the door was Adeline. She is a beautiful woman with a contagious smile. She greeted each of us with kisses on each cheek. Side note: How I love this greeting! It's so personal and warm. It makes me miss Kambiz--those of you who knew him, know what I mean. Adeline is a single mother to five children and is in the sewing program to provide for them. There were two others who came, although only one of them remains in the program, and her name is Denise. What a wonderful lady! She is married with three children.
This is Denise in the skirt she made!
The older girls from the orphanage came and we taught them to sew a skirt that fit their bodies. It was absolutely awesome! They loved it. Honestly, the first day was crazy with all the high school girls, in addition to the women who were there to earn a living, but it was exactly what was supposed to happen that day and it was good.

I can't tell you the emotional exhaustion that comes from teaching sewing to women, especially in a foreign language. I tried to twist the same Creole phrase in order to communicate a multitude of things. I think I sounded like an idiot. But I tried. Next time, I will try harder. I am continuing to learn Creole, so I can communicate more clearly and to show the women and other Haitians I meet that they are important enough for me to learn their language.

By the end of the week, the women had made several types of small bags, a skirt, and headbands. They were thrilled, it seemed, with their new skill. Currently, they are working on a few things and so far have made over 150 small zipper pouches and over 50 headbands. They are working on an ipad/journal bag that is pretty awesome. We will be selling the items IN THE US, so I will let you know when and how asap. Their debut appearance, however, will be in Scottsdale, Arizona, at Chances for Children's biggest fundraiser, Night of Hope. I will be there, and I'm thrilled to stand with Philona, our manager and show what they have done.

We are still ironing out the details of what the sewing program will look like. We want to make their sewing skills count, helping them come up with some items that are can easily be replicated, marketed, and sold. More details to come.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. One way you can support the women is to pray for them. Their names are Denise, Philona, and Adeline. They are each wonderful and I am overjoyed that I get to work with them.

If you want to read more about my trip, please click HERE for a story about a girl in a remote village.

Team of women I couldn't have done this without! Nicole, Alison, Emily, Robin, and me.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Birthday Wish: Dress Sweatpants

My husband thinks I'm disgusting. Let me tell you why and what my birthday wish is.

My part-time job is teaching group exercise classes. On days I don't teach, I try to work out (although I've been slacking a bit of late.) I am often that person wearing yoga pants, running tights or something else completely inappropriate all day long because I actually do workout AND . . .

wait for it . . .

I rarely shower right after I workout. I mean, I DO shower, but later.

So there it is. I am disgusting. The fact is that my sweat dries, I wear deodorant, and I have more pressing things to do. If I shower, I have to dry my hair and fix it, which takes FOREVER when you have errands to run, kids to pick up, make dinner, and naps to take a house to clean.

Which brings me to my birthday wish: Dress Sweatpants.

These are what I call "Dress Sweatpants."

Let me explain. My dad was a farmer. He wore overalls everyday, except Sunday mornings to church when he usually wore dress pants or corduroys with a collared shirt. On Sunday nights, we went to Sunday Night Church--which Jen Hatmaker refers to as SNC in her amazing book For the Love. Go read it right now; you will laugh til you cry and be encouraged at the same time! Anyway, my dad would wear what we referred to as his "Dress Overalls." These were the overalls that he could wear to work, but they were reserved for going places like restaurants, social gatherings, and SNC. Dress overalls were completely appropriate to wear in public because they were clean and looked nice, yet they were comfortable for my dad to wear.

This is why I want these sweatpants. They are comfy. They reflect what I do, yet I wouldn't have the constant dilemma of underwear (or no underwear) lines and the possibility of stinky, dried sweat from the pants in which I wore to work out. I could just slip these babies on after a workout and feel like a new woman without having to dry my hair!

But my husband's question remains: why in the world would I need to pay $43 ON SALE for SWEATS?! Somehow, the Nike swoosh makes all things sleeker, cooler, and public appropriate. Wearing Champion sweatpants gives off the vibe that I may actually be one of those moms who watches TV and eats bon-bons all day, which isn't AT ALL the case. I really prefer Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate PB Cups.

All this to say . . . I may be slightly disgusting, but I'm working on that. If I put on clean Dress Sweatpants, I will be taking a step in the right direction. And that is why I want them for my birthday. The end.