For the next few Fridays, I thought I'd tell the story of the craft women I worked with in Morocco. When I first arrived to my village, there were no women's groups with whom to work. Women were shy and suspicious; it was a fairly conservative place compared to other regions of Morocco. I'd greet women as we passed on village paths, but they'd rarely respond - just huddle further into their amlhafs (similar to burqas).
One of the few village women who worked outside of her home became one of my first friends. As a former preschool teacher, she was quite adapt at deciphering my truly awful Berber. She dreamed of starting a project to support village craft women but didn't know how to begin. We planned at length for months. We scheduled meetings only to have them blown off. Ironically, it was just as I was deciding to quit Peace Corps when the turning point came.
A chance conversation led by my program manager about marketable products and personal responsibility motivated them to stop stalling. Within 3 weeks - after 10 months of frustration, boredom, tears, and giving up - my women's group was born.
Dresses - how I've missed you! With limited wardrobe options (still living out of my suitcase for another month or so), I've resorted to my old mind trick of pretending I'm wearing a way-cuter outfit and just avoiding mirrors. It works okay until I momentarily glimpse downward and catch myself in my trademark striped top, cardi, and jeans. So for today, I'm donning this darling Merci dress by Mata Traders paired with tights and my high-top bensimons. Perfect outfit for this dreary, Seattle-ish day.
Watch their heartwarming story to learn more about these awesome ladies!
We stumbled upon these rainforest-seed necklaces by The Andean Collection at the Grand Central Holiday Fair. Designed in NYC & crafted by Ecuadorian artisans, this company balances the needs of artisan producers and the fickle ways of Western markets effortlessly - alleviating poverty while maintaining fresh and refined products isn't an easy feat. Check out this video to learn more.