Monday, January 10, 2011

hola again...

...from my favorite place in the world.

This time last year, i was beginning my second week at Magnolia Creek. Today, i am beginning my second week at work with Mi Esperanza.

Mi Esperanza [which means, "my hope"] is a non profit organization dedicated to empowering women. mi esperanza offers skills classes in sewing, cosmetology, and computer operation. once they've completed the sewing classes, some of the women find jobs elsewhere, while some choose to stay with mi esperanza, making bags, clothes and accessories for their line which is sold in their web store and a store here in Tegucigalpa.
when i come to honduras, i come with a notebook full of designs for new products to add to the mi esperanza stores. i've been coming since 2009 {and actually had to cancel a trip last january because of treatment}.

So far this trip, we've come up with a couple of journal covers, as well as some awesome new bags inspired by a photo of some Honduran architecture i took the first time i was here (pictured below):

this was taken from a car window in June 2009

and these are the bags the above photo inspired

We're also working on some neat-o journal covers made out of recycled plastic bags. i don't have any great pictures of those (because i forgot my camera cord [surprise to those of you that know me-i forgot something!] and can therefore only upload photos from my phone).

but the most important thing, really, is that i give each of the women about a million kisses and hugs a day, that i tell them i love them at least half that many times, and that i've invested enough into taking care myself that i've actually got something i can pour out to someone else.

i used to always want to make things about everyone else. not that that isn't a great thing, but i never thought i was worth taking care of at all and so i found my sense of worth in how happy i could make other people. {it's called codependency: you depending on someone else's dependence on you}

the funny thing is, the more i denied myself, the more selfish i actually became. i found myself serving others out of a hollow, exhausted heart. there wasn't any love or any joy. i just wanted to do as many things as i could possibly do for other people- not because i loved them, but because i hated myself.

but now, i find i'm truly able to live a life that is not about me. life isn't about me, and so i eat and sleep so i can have energy to serve and to love. life isn't about me, and so i say, "no" sometimes so that tomorrow, i'll be fully present in every conversation instead of distant and tired and faint. life isn't about me, and so i take steps to be healthy so that six months from now, i can be serving others instead of sitting in a doctor's office.

that being said, i now want you to meet the five best women i know:

this is sara.
(sorry that this looks like a mug shot. something really refreshing about these women is that none of them have ever practiced smiling for a picture in front of a mirror or tried to figure out which side is their "good" one)
sara has a heart of gold. she is quiet, but when she laughs, it's from her heart. she's got a smile that's the most genuine of any i've seen. when she speaks, it's unfailingly soft, but always encouraging. as a grown woman she has far less than i had the day i was born, yet her faith in God runs deeper than i'm able to understand.

this is reina.
i had the privilege of visiting her home this past saturday and meeting her family. she is unceasingly laughing or smiling. although she is hardly carefree, reina lives and thrives apart from those things that she cannot control, making her a ray of sunshine for all she encounters.
{p.s...when she saw me last week she told me i had filled out...oh well!}

this is amparo.
amparo is quiet and but far less stoic than the summer of 2009 when she and i first met. although we've not discussed her past, i sense that she has been through quite a bit. but as quiet as she is and as scared as she may be, amparo knows how to be loved. the slightest touch lights up her face, and she stops everything she's doing to receive a hug. as i've grown to know amparo, i have watched her allow others in, and i have watched her face soften and her laughter abound in result.

this is cecilia.
cecilia is the sewing teacher, and in charge of the maquila (which is the sewing room). She is always supportive of the designs i bring for the women to learn, and always ready to have as much fun as possible. before i grew to know any of the other women, it felt like cecilia and i had always known one another. she is someone who not only sees the best in people, but enjoys the best in people. i hope that i'm like her one day.

this is romelia.
[my car is named after her]
romelia and i have an unspoken, special bond. if one of us isn't screaming laughter at the the other one, it's because it's the other way around. she's sassy and she withholds no opinions, but neither does she withhold any love. the first morning i walked into the Mi Esperanza center, romelia leapt across the small back courtyard and enveloped me in her arms. it's funny to me that a 40-something-year-old honduran woman and i could be such good friends. but then again, of course we are.

if you learn love yourself, you never know who you'll end up getting to love afterwards.

more pictures to come from the states,


1 comment:

  1. Seriously, you are amazing and I feel honoured to even be able to read this blog.
    Such an inspiration and such a beautiful and talented woman xxxx