Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mary Jo Martin's Visit with the Women's Quilting Group

This week, we had a visit from Mary Jo, a woman from Chicago who has been supporting the women's quilting group here at the Center both financially and through skills development workshops. The women have been looking forward to her visit for months! She came for the first time this past March to introduce the basics of quilting to a group of about 25 women. From that group, about 10 women have been meeting on a weekly basis in the hopes of developing their skills and organizing themselves in to an income generating group. One of our main projects at the Center is to accompany this group, and in time others like it, in their process of self organization. I have been meeting with this group of women once a week to discuss goals and challenges, help spark discussion of possible products and markets, and support them as they define what kind of group they would like to be and how they plan to accomplish their goals. All week I have been translating for Mary Jo, and learning a little about quilting, too!

The workshop took place over five days, and concentrated on helping the women refine their quilting skills, choose effective color combinations, and learn various new patterns to incorporate into their work. We were also able to take the women and Mary Jo on a museum visit to the "Palacio de la Cultura", in order to identify color combinations and designs that represent Nicaraguan culture that they may be able to incorporate into their work. We looked through artisan exhibits, indigenous masks and carvings, exhibits about the biodiversity of the region, etc. We were also lucky enough to catch a bit of a free concert in the museum by the National Orchestra. If you look closely, you can see our friend Abel in the back row with a trombone. He is only 17, yet through taking classes at the Center for many years he was invited to enter the National Orchestra this year!

It was a great week, and I'm excited to have a chance to reflect on Mary Jo's visit with the women in the next few weeks. I'm also excited for a little vacation after a rewarding yet work intensive week. Laura and I are leaving for El Salvador tomorrow to take part in the UCA's vigil to honor the Jesuits who were killed there during the revolution in 1989, as well as attend the VMM annual retreat. We are looking forward to seeing good friends and being able to take some time to process this past month. Another update will be coming soon! Sending much love to you all.


1 comment:

Maria Elena D. said...

Hola: Love reading all of this. I could spend the day on all of the sites referenced. Wouldn't Margie love it!!! though it would all bewilder her. You must be in Salv. by now. Go well. Take good, good care of Diego! How wonderful that he has let you share his life.
Much love to all. Maria Elena D.