Julius has started school again and although we have worked out a schedule for him to come for meetings with the women, this Monday I was one my own. I had scheduled to meet with the women in the round hut that has become our meeting place from 2-4pm but by the time I had showered and sat down for breakfast, Maria informed me that some had already come to start working and see where I was. After breakfast, I went down to the hut and found at least 6 women already working away. Watching them put so much time, commitment and care into this project is such a gift! Although it wasn’t a buying day, I had told them I’d be there to help, answer any questions and remind them about measurements, check beads etc. For the most part, they are fine on their own, but there are still a few who sometimes need a little confirmation that they are doing just great! It was a relaxing day sitting there in the hut through the sun, the rain, the grey skies and then the clearing. Each time a new woman arrived, she proudly emptied her beads for me – some carried them in empty water bottles, others in pieces of fabric carefully tucked away in their dresses. Each one with a sparkle and laugh at my exclamation of how hard they had worked and how many beads they had carried with them. Some of the women threw complete necklaces down onto my legs, laughing at my mouth, which dropped over how hard they had been working since our last meeting!
There are currently two girls from Germany who are staying at the volunteer house and volunteering in the clinic – this is part of their volunteer period in between highschool and university. Both of them took time away from their work at the clinic to sit with us in the hut, sorting beads, removing beads that were not good, praising beads that were. They enjoyed spending some time doing something different and even learned how to roll their own beads!
Ever since we bought them the large paper cutter, one beader, Lydia has been telling us her goal of buying her own machine and using it to cut paper for other women in the group as an additional form of income. She proudly announced that after our first buying day, she was able to add to her existing savings and purchase her own paper cutter. Now she will be adding ‘paper cutter’ to her new business of making beads!