Rosa is new to the program. She found out about Krochet Kids through her sister, Jacque who is feisty like Rosa and lives a few houses up the hill. Jacque was one of the early participants of Krochet Kids.
Lima is a desert, which surprised me. I assumed it would be green. Lima, lime... green... I pictured Machu Pichu and the surrounding foliage--but Lima is not that. Lima is sand and dust... with hues of brown and yellow, the occasional bougainvillea... but it is also filled with color. Homes are not white and brown but green and pink, blue, orange... green.
Rosa's home is lavender on the outside and a deep blue within--proof that richness lives where creativity reigns and color creates its own quiet revolution. Rainbows built on sand and dust.
"No carne?" they ask me, as I clean my plate, save for the chicken.
"Lo Siento. Soy Vegetarian."
They laugh. Silly gringa.
Patricia speaks better English than I do and translates for all of us during lunch, which is otherworldly delicious and one by one we go around the table, exchanging stories.
The Krochet Kids premises have grown considerably over the last four years. What was once one small building is now four, including a warehouse, a separate daycare facility, and multiple sewing rooms boasting crochet machines and tables for cutting. The women take turns overseeing operations so that everyone gets a chance to lead, and once a week a mandatory seminar takes place in the upstairs meeting hall--where women are trained in finance and business--because KK sees itself as a launch pad.
"We train our participants to go out on their own. To start their own businesses. To run their own lives. Our goal is for them to be self-sufficient after three years. They are all independent contractors so they get to choose whether or not they want to come into work each day..."
But everyone is here. On time. Hard at work.
The mentors are here, too -- all with the same fierce-mama-vibe as Patricia. They are employed by Krochet Kids and help each woman one-on-one, working as aids with women in abusive situations, guides for teen moms, and friends to all. They are professional mamas to their sisters and it's beautiful.
It's day three with the KK team, and the women are gathered in a circle, clutching homemade gifts.
This week's mandatory meeting is about love. Valentines Day was Saturday and the women were assigned "secret valentines" to deliver
This week's mandatory meeting is about love. Valentines Day was Saturday and the women were assigned "secret valentines" to deliverhand made gifts to, along with affirmations and words of amor. (The only rule was that all gifts must be handmade.)
One women stands and starts to speak, passing her gift to its recipient along with praise...who in turn passes hers along, and so on around the circle...
"You are an incredible mother.... a great friend and confidant..."
"You make me laugh and I love your optimism..."
"Thank you for being a great friend. You are so beautiful."
...And I am reminded, once again, how similar we all are.How important rooms full of women are for the world. Circles of people are powerful--when everyone is able to see each other, something happens. We are as exposed as we are included. Even when it feels uncomfortable, we cannot help but look around.
I recently gathered with my mother's women's group. That was the last time I found myself in a space, similar to this, where everyone was asked to share. To stand up and speak, three words or three-hundred, or whatever decided to come out.And I wonder why this isn't a part of every woman's work week... of every person's work week... the coming together, the inhale, the exhale. It feels exactly right.
The handmade gifts are amazing, of course. There are vests and dresses, shirts and jewelry, artisan pieces made with cardboard.
"You are like a sister to me," the women say to each other over and over. "You are a mother and a sister."
You can also go shopping, which I will be posting a little bit more about next week with some of my favorite items, currently on sale. ED: I am writing this post in my Arizona headband (handmade by Julia Villegas) which I adore.