my essence

{If you’re here on the Noonday Collection Blog Train, howdy. And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Kate’s post from Friday, and watch for Erin’s post Monday. And, might I interest you in a little give-away at the end of this post?}

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Photo Aug 08, 6 47 12 PM

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Thirteen of us walked through the door and down the narrow hallway. My stomach full of perpetual butterflies and eyes welling with tears at any given moment, we came to a warmly lit room where about seven women, various ages, sat quietly working around two tables.

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We stood circled around them, and we all exchanged smiles as our translator introduced us to Rosario.

Rosario has a sweet confidence about her. With her eight year old daughter standing in front of her, she spoke as an expert business woman of the ins and outs of running a business, and then shifted to a more personal tone. She said with conviction, “This work is my essence.”

As soon as the translation hit my ears, my tears no longer welled–they spilled down my cheeks.

She shared how she and her brother were blessed to be able to continue school (past the typical 6th or 7th grade education offered in their country) with their Dad’s encouragement, and now views it as her mission to help others rise in her community. “This is my dream,” she said looking around her home/workshop, where steady work has provided new hope for each artisan.

We admired the swiftness and skill of the women who sat still working as we listened. They were beading the Laguna Cuff, one of the two cuffs this group makes for Noonday Collection. I was wearing the other. My fellow Ambassador and new best friend, Amber, pointed to the lovely plum and silver geo cuff, and asked Rosario in Spanish, did she know the name of it? Rosario, shook her head. “Rosario,” Amber replied. The cuff’s namesake made a sweet inhale and touched her heart and she, too, let tears fall.

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The quiet didn’t last as we all giggled and began pointing out their work in our Look Books, asking for photos por favor, exchanging names, and sharing hugs.

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I worked my way to Rosario, knowing finally what I would say to her. I held her hand and said—in weak Spanish after getting help from Amber—“Tu soñar es mí soñar.” Your dream is my dream.

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This was the first stop meeting our artisans in the highlands of Guatemala. And each time following was filled with the same gratifying experience of connecting with the faces and hands behind the work I have admired for so long. I now carry their stories with greater fervor and confidence. I know the names of many of the men and women who craft the pieces we wear. And I’ve sat where they sit. And I’ve seen what they’ve seen.

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{On the rooftop of Rosario’s home and the workshop for the beaded cuffs.}

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{On the second floor the men sew the leather to the bead work, and then wrap it around cut PVC pipe to finish the cuffs.}

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{Cristobal designed the La Noche bracelet. Pictured here with his wife and daughter. He asked us to pray for his wife as she recovers from recent health issues.}

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{Each La Noche bracelet takes about 4 hours to finish.}

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{Delores and her daughter Lourdes asked to touch my hair. They can finish 3-4 Galaxy Wrap bracelets per day. After trying it out, I think it would take me two days to finish one.}

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{Across Lake Atitalan, our weavers shared the process of crafting the Ana’s Scarf; an amazing, natural process. It takes about one week for a scarf to be completed.}

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{We loved meeting the artisans’ children. I admired the true community the women seem to have.}

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{Tried my hand at weaving, too. Rosa was sweet, but I think I’ll stick to selling.}

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{I was encouraged to see how the men lifted the women’s cause. Pedro, center, blessed our partnership. “Go back and use your freedom to move around to find customers, and we will work hard here doing what we do well.”}

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{The weavers at Ana’s shop gave us each a gift. But what I treasure, are their stories. One woman said because of Noonday, “To each problem, I now have a solution.”}

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{It was pure joy to watch Katie, a new adoptive Mama to twins, telling the women they helped her become a Mom.}

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{I left a piece of my heart, and my Feathered Fringe earrings, in Guatemala.}

And I want to express to you, dear Noonday friend, your desire to make intentional choices with your money, and to share the stories behind the beautiful pieces you wear, is truly making a way, where there was no way.

Brokenness surrounds us.

But I’m learning, if each of us enters into that brokenness a little bit, to link arms—across a table, across an ocean—we can experience something special. A small healing maybe.

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Because in the reaching, we discover,

Our essence.

Learn more about our collaboration with our artisans here.
And maybe read a little about what strides Guatemala is making toward justice here.

And if you haven’t already, book a trunk show with an Ambassador near you. The impact is real and meaningful. And we can tell you so many more stories!

Let’s give these artisans some more orders, agreed? Shop our exclusive, elegant pieces online at marijoyhorton.noondaycollection.com.

And here’s a fun little challenge for those of you who have 10 minutes to spare. I’d like to give a $25 Noonday Collection gift voucher to one of you. Would you search the  #noondayguatemala and read through my and my Ambassador sisters’ stories? (on facebook or instagram) Then, come back here, comment below with your favorite story. I’ll draw for the winner on Friday. (Contest ends at 12 am, Friday August 29th.)

Thanks for coming by, and for being a part of this movement.

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