By: Danielle Blume
On Wednesday morning, we set out to lead a small workshop for a local, nonprofit sewing co-op. Or, at least, what we thought was local. Our friend Rachel, who lives in Jacmel and had connected us to this co-op, met us at our hotel with her little girl, Abby. We began our adventure.
We picked up a few friends in town, and eventually there were eight adults and two toddlers in the truck. One woman sat in the bed. We left town and eventually reached a dirt road. The road twisted and climbed up the mountain. And I mean UP the mountain. We bounced over rocks and small ditches, drove through villages and markets, passed churches and homes and little farms. About an hour and a half into this uneven, upward journey, we finally arrived at our destination.
I'm telling you this for two reasons: The first is that I think it's so funny. Emily and I thought we were going fifteen minutes or so into town. We imagined a smooth, short trip to a local church, and instead we got this crazy excursion to the middle of nowhere. Looking back, it amuses me that we were so clueless. The second reason I tell you about our journey is because I want you to know something: Beyond the smooth, paved roads, high above air conditioning units and consistent electricity, where regular running water is just not the norm, there is HOPE. I don't mean a tiny glimmer of hope, I mean hope in abundance.
Twenty or so women gathered in the dirt-floored church. We waited for others to trickle in for a bit before we got started. They asked to pray before we did anything else. What a beautiful illustration of faith. We played a dancing game called Boom-Chicka-Boom next. There was so much laughter as we played! The women teased one another about their dancing and pulled others to the center of the circle so they would lead next. Women laughed so hard that tears streamed down their cheeks. Joy overflowed.
After the game was over, we settled in for the workshop. I taught two simple project, and embroidered pocket tee shirt and a headband, with Rachel translating again. There was so much eagerness to learn. I'd walk between the women, answering questions as best I could (language barriers are tough!). The women helped each other as well. They focused on understanding the task at hand. They showed passion.
Once the women understood their projects, they fell into the rhythm of sewing. They chatted amiably with one another. Occasionally there was a soft chuckle or a head shake. Of course I couldn't understand them, but I could feel friendship. I thought of my sorority sisters gathered to craft before recruitment, talking about our summers. I thought of sitting in a dorm room freshman year, crafting with friends and discussing classes. These women have a sisterhood. They have each other. They have love.
I am so thankful that we didn't take a smooth short road to a local church. I am so thankful that God took us on a winding, bumpy journey to an oft-forgotten part of the world. He used that time in that place to show me that He takes care of all of His children. Even way up on that mountain there is faith and joy, passion and love, and HOPE. He has not forgotten those women, just like He will not forget us.