For the past few days, I've been following Hayley from the Tiny Twig on her adventure to Ethiopia. She traveled with the good folks from fashionABLE to see their work overseas. It was moving to hear the stories of pain, to see the pictures of poverty, to peek into her own thoughts on her journey.
Reading her posts reminded me of my time in El Salvador, especially the challenge of a language barrier. Despite my several years of Spanish class, I still hesitated to understand or even try to communicate with any of the people there. It was easy to use our translators as a crutch and stick to the back of the huddle to avoid having an awkward conversation.
I finally decided on one of our last days there to step out anyway and try to initiate a conversation. A beautiful woman walked by and I pointed to the ice cream cart to get her attention. We were handing out free ice cream to any one who walked by. She smiled and put down the basket on her head.
We had a small conversation, largely taken up with the time it took to translate our words. It wasn't life-changing. She was a Christian who regularly attended church and had a strong faith because of an accident that happened to her son. I told her that I would pray for her and she said that she hoped I would. With that, she picked up her basket, ice cream cone still in hand, and walked away.
Despite the fact that nothing magical happened in our conversation, it'll be hard to forget her. I was able to put a face and name to poverty. It makes it more heart-wrenching when you know a person in true poverty. It has a family and a history now.
Hayley's post also excited me. I love what fashionABLE is doing. Products purchased through fashionABLE are made by Ethiopians and they are given a fair, honest wage. Women are given hope, dignity, and respect, which gives them the opportunity to permanently break the poverty cycle for not only themselves, but their children too.
And we get to be a part of it.
I love, love, love this model. It's life-giving, creative, and hopeful. That even you and me here in the comforts of our very own home can give a woman somewhere overseas dignity and a hug, even if we may never meet them on this side of heaven.
This business model is one of the reasons why I picked up a crochet hook and started crocheting. Not only do I love the craft, but I know that I can help even in this small way - to give safe drinking water through Compassion.
I love what fashionABLE is doing and reading Hayley's process. It's giving me the itch to go back to El Salvador and to even dream big. That maybe someday we could establish something similar to fashionABLE in El Salvador.
If you haven't read Hayley's post yet, go read it!