Tuesday, April 2, 2013

14 families and the Pandanas tree.

Today during lunch I snuck away from the school and scurried to the Wesleyan Hall. Every Wednesday at noon a group of women, lovely women, meet to talk and plan and weave. A few weeks ago two of them came to visit me with a request.

They are weavers - all 14 of them. They use the bark of the Pandanas tree to create beautiful bowls and mats and they asked me to help them find funding. They are hoping to start their own local business, selling their handicrafts, and in turn create more opportunities for their families and children. But it's a process to get the bark from the Pandanas tree and there aren't many around the village where I live. So the women often times have to go the market and by the Pandanas in bundles and turn it into something magical. The women who live in my village did not grow up here - they married their husbands and had to relocate. Such is Tongan custom. But in their relocation they didn't stop weaving.

So I told them I would help. I couldn't promise that I would be able to find money, but that I would look in a few places, ask some people and make some connections. I'm hoping we can learn about micro-financing together or that I can help them get in touch with the appropriate grant to take their small business idea and make it into a reality. I'm not really sure where to begin but Peace Corps provides us with a few ideas and I will look elsewhere as well. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy my Wednesday lunches with this lovely women.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know much about it, but if you look into Fair Trade type companies (and there are a few), you might find something. I know a shop I used to go to quite a bit in Alameda does Fair Trade and they have a contract, of sorts, with a company that works with women in Ghana who make little pouches and such using discarded juice containers and things like that. They're actually really neat. So, perhaps some sort of company like that?