Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jewelry making girls

On a few different occasions while we were in Dolores, Lola would go with her cousin Estefani to a bracelet making class offered by the resident Peace Corp worker, Elli. This was a perfect time for us when she went, on so many levels.

The class was held in the community center which really wasn't far at all from the house. Basically across the street, down about 3 houses, then pass the police station and a cut through up a hill (past another cousin's house) and there you go, you are there. It gave Lola an opportunity to go out "into the world" with out my eagle eye watching over her and to do something with some other girls. And for me it was nice as there was an adult there that Lola could actually communicate with. And she got to walk there, often with out me. (Gasp!)

The bracelet making was actually an extension of an adult program, of sorts, put together by Elli. A group of young adults, mostly women or teenage girls, and I think 2 men took classes and made jewelry. The jewelry was made to be sold in a neighboring small city that is known for selling Salvadoran Artisan crafts of all sorts. The jewelry is made from beads, rocks and often as my favorite, locally collected seeds. We liked the seeds so much that the kids and I began to start collecting the seeds ourselves when we took afternoons to go to the swimming holes and cool off.

I ended up buying a few necklaces. One to keep and a couple to give as gifts. I wish I had bought more. Not only were they super inexpensive, but to support the local entrepreneurship (is that a word?) Hopefully they will get a little etsy shop open to sell their stuff more globally. If possible, they have the potential to really reach out and make much more than a net of possibly $1.50- $2 a necklace for a couple hours work.

But while the older girls/women/young men were making jewelry or taking sponsored class on some life skills, Elli offered for young, elementary aged kids to come and make jewelry with little plastic beads like you might find at Michael's craft store. Such a small thing was really such an amazing gift for these young girls. The activity provided them with not just an organized activity, which is huge, but a craft and an ability to create and be creative. Something that is not often possible, even on the smallest of scales.

The girls were so sweet and were fascinated by Lola, as a young American kid. They knew of many people, some their own parents, who had left for the states, but had never met a young Gringa kid. Someone who was the same age as them, just in different skin with different words. But with the same desires and interests. They would ask us over and over how to say different things in English. The young girls would laugh and laugh and laugh when they learned a new word, like "necklace". And then forget it and try again. Lola shyly enjoyed the attention.

One of the girls made this necklace for Azalea. She promptly put it on, and has yet to take it off. Even since we have been back home, for over 3 weeks. Don't think I haven't asked. I have. Many times.

The would say "Como se dice...." or "How do you say.... anything under the sun. And it was good for Lola's Spanish too. To try to understand some of what was being said and translating. And Azalea taught them of course that "caballo" means "horsey".

In the evenings some of the jewelry making girls would come by the house to see if the kids wanted to skip rope in the street. Which of course they always did want to do. On our last night, they found out that we were leaving early in the morning. Three girls who were sisters grew quiet. Then they started to serenade Lola, Azalea, even Tigo and eventually me (Elmer disappeared mysteriously). They sang songs about flowers and love, which I believe were all their church songs they were learning. They were terribly out of tune, but marvelously soothing. One of the sweetest things imaginable.

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