Donate any time!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Busy again!

It may appear that we're neglecting our project, but really, the Chief Blogger has just been too overwhelmed with work and health issues to focus on posting updates. We're here, we're busy, and we want to give you a quick update.

(It was Diversity Day at school,
hence the exceptionally oversized African dress)

So, you know that I, Sharon, am under the weather, and that's a little bit of a setback. Anna is away for the summer, so Jaime and I are trying to figure out how to cover Anna's home visit marathon schedule. Susan is away right now, but when she's here, she has a lot going on shepherding Somali Bantu kids to their many summer activities. Community building can be exhausting work, but being tired does not in any way mean our enthusiasm is flagging.

There has been a veritable baby boom going on among the women of A Little Something. Several babies have been born in the last few weeks, and there are at least three more on the way--soon!

Our last two sales had mixed success. We're learning that it's a lot of work to get everything inspected, ready, and tagged. Setting up the booth takes a lot of time and and a good eye for merchandising.

We haven't had much success getting the Beadwomen to join us on sale days. We aren't sure if it's a lack of interest, anxiety about speaking English, or some other issue that makes them reluctant to take on the business aspects of the business. For now, we want to get the teen girls involved with the hope that they will encourage their moms to participate in the events and share the responsibility of running A Little Something.

The next phase of our project is taking shape. Since last summer, hundreds of ethnic Karen refugees from Burma have been resettled in Denver. Among the many talents the Karen bring to our country is their gift for weaving. Perhaps you saw earlier posts here about Htee, our only weaver in the program to date.

Our plan is to start a weaving co-op, capitalizing on a skill the Burmese women already have. Again, the intent of the project is not only to make money, but for the women to use art as a means to empowerment and healing. The scars of the Karen run very deep, indeed. Many of the younger women have spent their entire lives in refugee camps in Thailand and are facing a daunting life of opportunity and learning for the very first time. We hope that this part of the Denver Refugee Women's Crafts Project will bring together not only our artists, but local fiber artists who have time and talent to share, as well.

Our project moves forward, sometimes in spite of itself, it seems. Anna, Susan, Jaime, and I face immense challenges on a regular basis. Sometimes we make this up as we go along because we don't really know how to proceed. We have made mistakes, but we learn from them. We do our best and as much as we can--which is actually quite a bit when you consider that we work "regular" jobs that are both demanding and sometimes emotionally difficult. I'm never sure if we should keep that to ourselves or let the women know that we struggle in our way, too.

The summer holds promise for many new ideas to take shape and be put into action. We might have the opportunity to be vendors at the farmers markets. We have the City Park Festival of the Arts coming up on July 20, and on June 27, a small celebration for the Sea-to-Sea bike tour, as well.

We will celebrate our first anniversary in about six weeks, and when you look at the year we created--with so much help from people here and all over the United States and Canada--there is a lot to celebrate. We'll keep you posted.

No comments: