Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This and That

It has been a busy, busy couple of weeks since I got back.  Lots of the busy-ness has been of the organizational variety.  And report making … and meeting attendance …

But there have been some cool things thrown in the mix.

We had a brief, one day visit from a youth group from St. Catherines.  They are always a delight.  Their working partnership is on the other side of the country, but they always make an effort to come up to meet the Pastoral Team, learn about their work and know the Berlín community a little.  This visit, we took them out to the coffee farm where the beans for Don Justo Coffee with Dignity are grown and had a wonderful learning experience.  Arquímedes was there waiting for us to explain the process from seed to cup.  He has gotten quite eloquent over the years: evolving from one word answers to our questions to fully embellished explanations without prompting.
Arquimedes explaining the nursery (center)

Explaining the drying process.  Don't worry ... footprints don't hurt the beans!

Trying on a basket!

After this, we came back to the Pastoral House and they spent time listening to the members of the Pastoral Team – a bit of their history, what they do and their motivation for doing what they do.  As always, they had good questions. 

Their visit was way too brief! 

We went out to visit San Isidro – a recently partnered community.  The first ‘project’ with their partner church in Iowa was to develop a mini-cooperative.  After several lengthy conversations – with all sides throwing out ideas, questions, concerns, hopes … the (very organized) Youth Group decided they would like to learn artisan skills.  Some were interested in painting, some jewelry making – both macramé style and wire/bead designs.  We had teachers lined up for both of those and they had begun their training the first week of January.  We went out mid-way through their trainings to see how things were going.  We had heard good reports.  When we arrived, there were 7 young people painting in the church and 16 (I think) young men and women busily practicing their macramé skills.  When we arrived, they all started pulling their creations out of bags so we could see.  There was a big difference between their first efforts and what they are producing now.  There were some beautiful pieces!!  Julio (the jewelry teacher from Santa Ana) said between them, they have enough to fill a large table.  At least ¾ of the items – in my opinion – are sale worthy.  And that is something we are going out to talk to them about next.

Texture, subtle color variations ...

A group effort - work in progress on the wall of the church

Blanca checking out the work

Julio said this group learns quickly.  Motivation and interest is vital.

Some of the work of just 2 girls!  Very cool.  Anyone want to shop???
This is their final week of training.  Friday will be the “closure” – they are inviting their whole community as well as the Pastoral House folks to see what they’ve accomplished.  We are going to ask Fr. Cándido to come with us to bless the group. 

We plan to sit with them to reinforce the original concepts of ‘cooperative’ – one common cash box – making sure there are funds to purchase materials for future creations, all working as a group for the common good of the group.  There are a couple of adults working closely with the youth to help them and the youth have already formed a Directiva: a president, vice-president, secretary and 2 treasurers (better for transparency to have two people responsible for the funds).  They are on their way!  And this is an exciting venture which ultimately could be accomplished in other communities with other youth groups or women’s groups.  

Organization is key.  Cooperation is necessary.  Agreement. 

SUCH potential!

I would SO not have the patience for this work!! 

But I'd be happy to wear them!

Details ... exact work

Cecilia scrutinizing the work.  She approved!

Look what SHE has done! 

This is 'waxed' thread ... bracelets made with better than the usual materials you can get here

1 comment:

rubireyes said...

That hand crafted jewelry looks beautiful. If we could work something out, I would love to buy some to sell in my store. I have sold handcrafted handbags in the past. inbox me if this is something you might consider. BTW you had mentioned that your pastoral team makes trips to Perquin. You actually pass directly by my house on the way, so the next time you all have to stop by for some horchata!