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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Full circle and a bit dizzy, Part II

Writing in the wee hours of the morning usually means I stray from the thought that prompted me to blog in the first place. At a more reasonable hour, the original thought comes back, perhaps with some lucidity.

It was deja vu. Saturday had a familiar but distant feel. I was back in the community room at Grace. Refugee women were eagerly leaning in to see what I was demonstrating with my tools and somewhat shaky hands. I am self-conscious about my hand tremor, and the original group of women don't even see it anymore. New women, new self-conscious moment for Sharon.

I picked up each tool as we needed it, and I said its name slowly and clearly. Round nose pliers. Repeat: Round...nose...pliers. Say it with me.

A few minutes later I asked the name of the tool and was met with puzzled looks. I drew a circle in the air. I touched my nose. "Circle face tool!" Reviewing material is so underrated.

Jump ring. I think they pretend to forget just to see me act it out. A plump middle-aged woman jumping around is not to be missed.

We laughed a lot. I cursed the hand tremor, especially on a day when there was no one else there to demonstrate what I cannot so easily. The women asked the same questions those first women asked in the summer of 2007. The mistakes were the same, and the smiles born from success were just as beautiful.

I wanted to be a better teacher. I wanted the women to feel satisfied with their lesson. I wanted them to fall madly in love with jewelry making right from the start. This was familiar territory, but no less exciting on the return trip.

I could see it so clearly: It was possible that this project that started with four women and grew like a healthy, loved baby, could keep repeating itself. This scene unfolding in the community room really could happen again and again. The faces and cultures would change, of course, but the ideas that brought the first group together were sound and they were heartfelt.

Creating beauty in the wake of horror soothes a place deep within the spirit. Learning something new and persisting despite challenges builds confidence. A woman who earns money for herself sees new possibilities in a world fraught with uncertainty. Empowerment is more than just a trendy word; it is a fact and in our project, the women themselves are helping those who come after, who will help the next group and so on.

Here's to many more Saturdays explaining the use of the circle face tool.

1 comment:

Lainee said...

I teach English and advocate for Somali Bantu refugees in Nashville TN . . . I can feel your heart for these people in thi post and I'd love to share experiences with you!