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.