I just returned from an amazing jewelry development trip with Project I See You in La Victoria, Dominican Republic. I traveled with my friend Amanda, who was an amazing partner on this fun, hot, and truly rewarding journey.
First and foremost, we wanted to continue to develop the co-op model among the women by empowering them to lead, made decisions, and help each other learn these jewelry skills. We talked about quality control, handling money, paying for supplies and assembly line type production.
Secondly, we taught the women to make the new designs that are a part of the Te Veo line. I was amazed at how quickly they learned the skills and understood the designs. We came home with a lot of inventory to sell for the summer! Whoohoo! I also really enjoyed continuing to get to know these women and hear their stories. They are hard-working, smart, beautiful women who want to learn and provide for their families. I love it!
The title of this post is a direct quote form one of our friends in La Victoria. The first night we were in the DR we were talking about some details and how to get them done. Kiki's response was, "Here, We Never Know" along with a shoulder shrug. It struck me as so funny. Mostly the way that he said it, but also the truth that it holds. This quickly became our response to everything that was happening during our days. It is so true! When in the DR, you never know what is going to happen! You can plan everything perfectly, but usually it doesn't go as planned. That is part of the beauty of visiting and working in the DR. It challenges me to let go of what I think should happen and how it should happen, and it allows me to let things unfold in new ways that I didn't even know were possible! To hold things lightly and enjoy the process. If I were to continue to live and work according to my American mindset (usually perfectionistic, busy-bodied, no time for lunch) I would miss the blessings of the slower, community and family focused, so hot you have to sit or rest for 2-3 hours in the middle of the day lifestyle my Dominican friends exemplify for me.
On returning home, I am already missing Biemba's amazing cooking, sweating like crazy, laughing at my lack of Spanish but also learning new words every day, looking for new photo shoot spots, and getting creative when things don't work out. I want to continue to learn from these amazing people how to live differently and in new ways here at home in the U.S. Hasta Luego mis amigos!