After a tearful goodbye at the airport..leaving my two youngest children and husband to embark on our new adventure...we had a long, yet seamless flight to the DR.
We were greeted by Matt, Nest's fabulous field manager, at the airport and got settled into the apartment where we will stay for the duration of our trip. Matt made us feel welcome and informed and has been keeping us busy since our arrival!
We arrived too late in the day to meet the women, but had our opportunity the next afternoon! We are staying in San Pedro, a town located about 15 minutes (by taxi ride) away from the Batey where the co-op is located. Bateyes are communities where those who work in the sugar fields live. There is little work any longer working the sugar fields as most companies have left the area.
We were greeted at the door with a Bienvenidos sign, and the women welcomed us into their co-op. After a brief introduction, we jumped in to help with their current order...hundreds of conference bags designed for The Pujols Family Foundation a co-sponsor of the co-op along with Nest. We, my girls and I, did our best to be of assistance while learning the operation.
My girls have found their place among the many children of the Batey who adore Giana and Bryn, and the feeling is mutual. The girls spend their days entertaining the children with fingerknitting, piggy back rides, walks to the park, hand games, hair combing, tickles and laughter.
After my lame attempt at the foot pedal powered sewing machines, I've decided to do everyone a favor and stick with ironing! Yes Mark...I did say that I was ironing! The weather is hot with high humidity and daily rain storms, as well as frequent power outages...which means no fan in the ironing room..which gives me the opportunity to ponder the conditions around the world where clothing is made and appreciate every single stitch!
Today is Saturday, and we had a party that began at 10am. We learned to cook fish, habichuelas, the hugest pot of rice I've ever seen, vegetables and ensalada rusa...every bite would make your mouth water and thee are flavors that we will always crave once we are back in the US. After lots of cooking, eating, and laughing, the women took us on a tour of the Batey which, after wading through huge puddles in the streets, landed us at the public swimming pool with music so loud that our ears are still ringing. It was a truly wonderful day.
Next wee we hope to complete our order for the Pujos Family Foundation as the women are excited to learn jewelry making. We do not have another order pending at this time, so I will be spending my time in country working to develop a local market place to sell their handmade goods.
Stop back soon and learn about our progress.