Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Zimbabwe's Crisis Hits Close to Home

For those of you who have been to my store, you have undoubtedly seen the beautiful bead and wire creatures made by Bernard Domingo from Zimbabwe. Domingo had recently been given asylum and was working toward bringing his family here. As we celebrated Thanksgiving, he raved about the food, so much so that over the weekend, he said, "I will give you money for food and I would like you to make a meal like that for my children." Of course, we agreed. We all left for Boston for the Cultural Survival Fair Trade Bazaar where we had great sales and had a wonderful weekend. And as Domingo returned to Mt. Vernon, he got a call from his family. His eldest son who was suffering from Cholera had become ill once again. He was in the hospital over the weekend, but with so many people dying around him, Domingo's wife Veronica brought him home to recuperate...he passed away shortly after. Domingo called me and sobbed, "I'm confused." Asylum, which would bring his family to the US would also be the reason to separate them. He would not be allowed to return to Zimbabwe. "I want to go." He told me, but I said to stay. If he leaves and isn't able to return, all would be lost. I said I thought he should work on his paperwork and find a job and a home in order to send for the rest of his family. So many stories in the newspaper are about far away places that have no relevance in our lives...this one touches everyone who has been to my shop, making the world, her problems, and the people that reside around the globe neighbors, family and friends. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081202/wl_nm/us_zimbabwe_crisis

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Goody Goodies teams up with Bono to help Africa

I thought this was pretty cool so I'm sending the links along... http://edunlive.blogspot.com/ Macallan Durkin's Goody Goodies T shirts are featured on the Edun Live blog site.
For those of you who don't know, Edun Live (http://www.edun-live.com/) is a program that was started by U2's Bono and wife Ali Hewson to bring income to Africa.

Two programs Macallan chose are:
Bana ba Letsati, meaning Sunshine Children, a center in Maun for children who are homeless. The center provides meals, counseling, afterschool care, and for older teens, job placement with several "graduates' from the program creating crafts I buy for Women's Work.

Windows of Hope: After meeting with someone from USAID who referred us to a newly assigned Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Ghanzi (our old hometown). PCV Katherine Courtnage invited us to the center where nearly 100 children orphaned by AIDS go afterschool. The center provides a meal, games, counseling and support to the children who are required to stay in school in order to participate. As Macallan and Markham watched the kids play, a volley ball bounced toward Macallan. The children encouraged her to join them, fighting over who got her on their team, she and Markham spent some quality time enjoying the center and Macallan saw first-hand what the money from GG could do.

To buy your Goody Goodies Edun Live T-shirt, please go to etsy

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Goody Goodies, the beginning

Macallan and I looked at the date and realized it was a year to that day that we had moved back to NY from Botswana. A little sad, we talked about the things we loved about living there. Remember when that huge ostrich tried to outrun us and hit the side of our car as we went 70 mph! Or the time we came home to find the eight foot spitting cobra curled up on our bed? How about those kids that would hang around outside the grocery store? You'd never see that in the USA. "What about those kids?" Macallan wanted to know. "Who's feeding them now that we're gone?" "Oh honey, other people fed them." I reassured her. "I know," she said, "but I used to feed them." It's true. That was her "job" when we went grocery shopping. We knew there were kids that begged for money outside the store. We didn't like to give them cash, they often bought glue that they would sniff to make the bleak life ahead of them less realistic. So, Macallan was entrusted with picking out some food for them - a loaf of bread, a bag of oranges...And she was the one that handed it to them when we went to leave. A small act, I know, but even after a year of being away, she remembered it and wanted to keep doing her part to help. As a mother, how do you ignore this opportunity? You don't.
I had opened a shop called Women's Work selling crafts from the women I knew and worked with in Botswana. This was the perfect venue for a mother/daughter effort to stay connected to the experience, country and people we loved.
Macallan's first great passion has always been animals. While in Botswana, she was lucky enough to help raise a baby warthog, a baby ostrich and several chameleons. So, I suggested that she bring the animals and her other great passion for art and put them together.
She drew a few images of these animals and we went from there. She had learned to make beaded animals at an afterschool program in Africa. She remembered a lizard she had made. We took that basic shape and created a beading kit so that other kids could make them. She came up with a clever slogan to go with the Chameleon - "You Can Change the World!" It was great!
Then, she drew the cutest ostrich. We decided to put that on t-shirts with the slogan, "Don't Bury Your Head in the Sand! Get Involved!" Using money she had saved from her allowance (with a little help from her grandparents), she funded these first two products in her product line.
When it came to naming the product line, MacAnimals was perfect. Her name is Macallan and they were her animals - duh. So we went with it. But after a few months, we were told again and again that we might have a problem with the Mc-Giant...And to avoid any conflicts, we reconsidered and came up with Goody Goodies.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Our Story:

After living in Botswana, Africa for three years, our family returned to the NY area where we started a whole new life...nothing as we knew it would ever be the same. Cecilia, that's me, would open a fair trade shop where I sell crafts mostly from the producer groups I knew of and worked with in Botswana. You see, while we were there, I had the distinct pleasure of working with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari. The women make ostrich eggshell jewelry (considered the first beads humans ever made, these types of beads date back 50,000 years) in order to put meat and milk on their table. These women are the reason I opened Women's Work. Peter, my husband, is the reason we were in Botswana in the first place. He had been in the Peace Corps in the '80's and couldn't wait to return. While we were there with our then, 3-year-old son Markham and our 8-year-old daughter Macallan, we had many life changing experiences...one such experiences resulted in Goody Goodies.