Monday, September 21, 2009

Jewelry with a conscience

Last night I ordered this bracelet online from Macys. Perhaps that doesn't seem like a big deal. However, I very rarely buy jewelry for myself and if I do, I try to buy it off the clearance rack at Target or Kohls. I don't think I've EVER in my life bought myself a piece of jewelry online. In fact, until I turned 40 last spring I really didn't wear much jewelry on a daily basis. However, once the big 4-0 rolled around I decided that I don't want to fade into frumpiness. Instead I made it a goal to try to buy cute clothes, cute shoes and fun jewelry (as inexpensively as possible, of course). So...........I would like to explain what prompted me to buy this particular bracelet aside from the fact that it is really gorgeous and fun and bright.

September has been a whirlwind month. My oldest son turned 8 this month and we've had a series of parties for last weekend for our older relatives and one just this past Sunday for his friends. Every year when I practically kill myself getting the house cleaned up for the birthday party I tell myself that I will never again host a party at my home. Instead I vow to plan next year's party at another venue so I can just load up my kids and show up with a cake. Well........then the next year rolls around and it just seems like a good thing to have the party at our house. We live on 2 acres. We have a huge yard with lots of room to roam and run, a mini-"forest" to explore and now..........a new fort to play in. Kids just love to come to our house and we very rarely have children over to play since we live in the country. This year was no exception and we lucked out with the weather.......Sunday was a perfect fall day.........crisp and clear, not too hot and not too cold. Anyway......the party was a success, but afterwards I was completely wiped out. I was truly just wrecked. I was just getting over a bout of stomach flu that I had at the end of last week. I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed even though all our entertaining responsibilities were over. As my boys watched a movie in the living room, I retreated to my bedroom with a glass of wine and my Oprah magazine.

It would probably be an exaggeration to say that the article I read was life-changing. However, it was truly eye-opening. If you are not familiar with the O magazine, every year Oprah sponsors or facilitates a jewelry project that supports African women. Working closely with the Fair Winds Trading organization several bracelet designs are chosen each year and crafted by African women. The bracelets are then sold online through Macys. They may even be available in the Macys stores. The article in the most recent O magazine told about how this year's project paired Rwandan women with artists in New Orleans to create the beautiful beaded bracelets like the one shown above. Aside from the obvious goodwill of these efforts and the tremendous financial effect they have on the women in Africa, what struck me and touched me the very most about the article was getting to know some of the women and their life stories. I am so sheltered and so blessed in the life I have been given. It is truly humbling to think about how many women in the world have experienced loss, trauma, and hardships that I cannot even imagine. One of the women who came to New Orleans to participate in the beading project lost her entire immediate family to the Rwandan genocide. Parents, siblings............gone. She was "bought" as a sex slave to a wealthy man and has three children, all the result of rape. Two or three days each week she and her children go WITHOUT FOOD. I cannot imagine surviving or enduring any one of those things let alone all of them. As hard as it was to read I appreciated getting a chance to have my eyes opened to the plight of my sisters across the ocean. I was moved enough that I ordered a bracelet after reading the article. It is a small thing to do. I know that I will get many compliments on the bracelet. It is unique and beautiful. I look forward to sharing with people about the project that created it. And I am also looking foward to wearing it because I know that each time I glance at it I will remember and think about the women across the globe who made it. I will be moved to pray for them and their families. And that's a good thing.

If you are interested here is a link to the article.

1 comment:

Krystal said...

This is a beautiful bracelet, Laura! What a great cause. I can't believe what some women have to go through. And I get mad because my husband doesn't mow the lawn very often - seems trivial!