Photo courtesy of Kiva

There are so many desperate needs in the world today and like most people, I want to help.  The magnitude of some of the problems is almost beyond comprehension.  It is easy to become overwhelmed or to feel as though the contribution I can make is too small, it won’t make a difference.  I was feeling that way earlier today and then I saw Nora Leon’s blog and this quote:

“I can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

It helped me remember that small things matter.  I’ve assembled kits for women in Rebecca Sower’s Haiti by Hand group.  I’ll work on an instruction sheet showing them how to make the earrings as soon as I can get someone to photograph my hands.  Since we don’t speak the same language, I figure showing them is the best way.  My goal is to finish the kits and get a box to her next week.  I need to go to a craft store to get some small hand tools for the women.

I made a Kiva loan to the woman entrepreneur pictured above.  She is running a beauty parlor and needs help getting supplies.  Her name is Titilayo Ajakaye and she is from Nigeria.

Through Hope International, I purchased a hair dryer for a woman in the Dominican Republic, also running a beauty parlor.

Small things.  Done with love.  And they matter.

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However devastated I feel at the human suffering in Haiti, I also feel uplifted by the outpouring of help, love, and support from so many people.  The community of handcrafted artisans is working hard to do its share.

All profits from the sale of any of my jewelry during this time will be donated to Haitian relief efforts.  This bracelet was inspired by the sails of Haitian fishing boats during my visit to Haiti this past summer.  The colors of the beads and their age and resulting wear remind me of the beautiful, weathered sails.

Listed below are other handcrafted artisans who are helping Haiti through various efforts.  If you can, please support my effort, any one of theirs, or start your own.  With heartfelt thanks, Charlene.

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Like everyone, I am shocked and saddened by the news of the earthquake in Haiti.  I was fortunate enough to visit Haiti this summer and these are pictures from that trip.  I visited Labadee and did not have the opportunity to see Port-au-Prince or other areas.

The first thing that struck me about Haiti was the sheer beauty of the place.  These photos were taken from a tour boat that took us along some of the coastline.  I was stunned by the beauty of gorgeous blue seas that very quickly rose up to wildly, ruggedly beautiful mountains.

I was also amazed by all the fishing boats out on the water with people going about their work for the day.  They were modest vessels and the sails looked like patchwork quilts made from pieces of whatever fabric people could get.  There was also beauty and quiet strength in those sails and I and respect the resourcefulness of people anywhere in using what they have.  t was interesting, when I returned and would tell people how beautiful I thought Haiti was, I would get a little reaction.  Someone even said, you never hear anything like that about Haiti.  I was glad I could tell them.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been envisioning a line of jewelry that I hope can come close to capturing what I felt when I visited Haiti.  I plan to accelerate development of the line and hope to find a way to use it to help.  There is always the approach of donating a percentage from the sale of jewelry from the line.  Truthfully, I’d like to do that and find a way to do more.  After going there once, I said I wanted to return.  Maybe there will be a way.

Below – that’s me looking at a water taxi.