Saturday, December 20, 2008


Every Monday morning, I head out to the local pharmacia and wait for a ride to a community center located on the outskirts of town, about 20 minutes away. The driver's name is Toy and she is a 70-something powerhouse who has been committed for years to a local group of women, Mujeres Trabajadores (Working Women). For me, their group's name is the Sewing Ladies, as sewing is their means of financial support. They meet once a week at the community center, and up until this year, their Monday meeting consisted of some sort of sewing lesson/tip, an English lesson, an Al-Anon meeting (as most have some sort of dependency issue happening in their family), and organizing their one or two selling ventures (at the cruise ship terminal or a local hotel) for the week. I have been involved with them for the past two winters and I have been trying to get them to step out of their comfort zone of placemats and aprons and add a bit more personal expression to their work. This year my friend Bev (their English teacher) and I have returned to find them immersed in personal development classes, with choices of art, cooking, singing, etc. They are loving these opportunities, and when we arrive Monday morning they are busy at the table with their paints and papers at hand. We observe from afar and chat in our simple Spanish with the the one or two stragglers who arrive late or who decide not to partake that day. OR Velma arrives with her new baby girl and we get to hold her for awhile. When the art teacher terminates the class for the day, they scramble with their stacks of donated fabric, plan projects, divvy up the pieces, and sign up on the schedule to sell their wares. Even Toy's Al-Anon meeting has taken a back seat. Perhaps in the new year we will be able to get back on track, but for now we are there as friends and supporters. Every week I am awed by their fortune to have been organized over ten years ago, and now they have evolved into a strong and sustaining network devoted to financial advancement, skill development, spiritual quest and friendship. It's inspiring to watch!

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