It started, maybe about 2 ½ years ago, with a visit to the restaurant for lunch and to see what I was up to here in the small village of St Elena. Joanna Rosado ,who has a tourist college in Merida , came with a few friends for lunch and fell in love with this place .Her mind began filling with ideas for her students that perhaps they could create a tourist attraction right here in St Elena to help the locals with jobs etc.She then turned another idea into creating a sustainable living program ,if there were enough people interested in sewing, woodcarving or even pottery making (I heard they have a fine oven for making pottery but no one really knows how to use it to the best advantage) to sell to the tourists that pass by .
A group from the village collected at the restaurant for the initial chat with Joanna and to hear their responses and ideas. Some ,as always in new ventures ,didn’t continue and dropped out but one family stayed true and now as of today are really happy with their work and more so when they sell a piece. More ladies from Merida came on board ,Teresa with her imaginative ideas of what they could make and Bev with her skills for business. One of their best supporters is Nancy who likes to come along and see what the women are producing.
It hasn’t been an easy process and many a helper would have thrown in the towel by now but these four women have stuck it out and are now seeing the fruit of their labours
Today was a special day as the International Women’s Club of Merida donated enough money to buy an industrial sewing machine so that the ladies can work more efficiently .Cutting tables were also donated by a private individual .
Rosa seems to head the team of ladies as work is done in their own homes .Her look of excitement was just too much , eyes wide open as she tried out the machine with the technician ,who came out from Merida ,teaching her how to use this fast flying machine…
One could feel the excitement in the air as the family members came to see this miracle machine. A representative from the local government also came along which added a little bit more excitement to the whole show and an honour that it bestowed on the family .
Joanna has worked tirelessly looking for donors or people that would like to get involved in this project more ideas are always welcomed to help these people become independent .
Joanna also created another program here in St Elena which I will write about later so keep tuned!