A Life Changing Experience
Last weekend I traveled to Haiti with Marla Bosworth and Amanda Gail. We were there to teach the women of OFEDA so they can become self-sufficient and support themselves. Some of the women make cards, some make tote bags and others crochet caps and scarves.
Amanda’s group (The Lovin’ Soap Project) has been making soap for about a year now, and she was there to do a business workshop.
Marla and I were there to start a new group. The women wanted to learn how to make scented oils, solid perfumes and balms. We taught through an interpreter (Angie). The class started with prayers and singing “How Great Thou Art” in Creole. (I wish I had gotten it on video)
We talked about carrier oils, blending scents and herbal infusions. They spoke of a local herb, assorossi (Momordica charantia) and wondered about using it in their infusions for the healing benefits.
They measured, stirred, poured, packaged and took copious notes.
I expected to be sad & heartbroken to see where they lived, and I was.
I expected to be angry & outraged when I heard their stories, and I was.
I expected to be humbled & chagrined by their gratitude, and I was.
What I didn’t expect was how deeply I would feel it. These women have a true sense of community. Before making a sandwich for herself, Garmane made one for a little boy that I assumed was her son. I was told that the boys’ mom was 19, had another small child and that Garmane watches over him for her. Another woman who lost her son in the earthquake never recovered emotionally, and they all make sure she is taken care of. Ranatta spoke of a farmer she knew of who grows vetiver and wanted to suggest sourcing from him to support his business. They have very little, yet give so much of themselves. For me, it was a life changing experience. They taught me much more than I taught them.
We brought their products back to the United States to sell for them. Email [email protected] if you are interested. The money will be spent on more supplies, and the rest will be given to the joyful women of OFEDA.
Yours in Gratitude,
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