April 8, 2014
We updated our post on Easter chocolate a few weeks ago. All of our old recommendations still stand! In fact, I just put in a group order yesterday for Mama Ganache.
Today, I would love to introduce you to one of my favorite fair trade vendors, Dsenyo. John and Marissa Perry-Saints are the owners, and I met them at the Fair Trade Federation conference last year. Awesome people. While they make many wonderful fair trade goods, today I want to tell you about their stuffed animals. They are absolutely perfect for Easter baskets. All sell for $24. While all are super cute, my personal favorite is the elephant- just because I love elephants.
These cute stuffed animals are made by the Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group in Malawi. According to Dsenyo’s website:
Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group (Malawi) is comprised of 17 members, primarily women afflicted by AIDS, either personally or within their family. Just over one third of the women are widows who have lost their husband to the virus. Widowhood often leaves Malawian women economically disempowered and socially excluded; Mwayiwathu creates opportunity and works for change. The women in this group use their wages to send their kids to school, pay for transport to the hospital to get ARVs, make improvements to their homes, and invest in side business ventures. One woman mentioned she has been able to use the sewing skills learned at Mwayiwathu to stitch school uniforms for her children and others in the community, which makes her very proud!
We don’t have a financial relationship with Dsenyo. We just love what their company is doing! Plus- that fox? Love!
April 1, 2014
We’re so grateful that Lissette Cannizzaro has joined our team in helping with social media! She’s done amazing work in a very short period of time. A long time follower of our blog, she was an answer to prayer. She has a strong heart for justice and serving marginalized people around the world, and she’s savvy with social media. It’s been a true blessing for me to get to work with her!
Lissette is making it easier for us to stay connected with you. We hope you’ll join us and help us spread the word! Here’s where you can find us.
Thanks so much!
March 25, 2014
To say that I had a freak-out yesterday would be a gross understatement.
I put out HELP! text to my sister and a dear friend to request prayer. I desperately needed clarity and wisdom. Thank goodness for people who love me and want to be in this with me.
So, why the freak out? I’m writing a booklet. Trying to tell the story of the people who make our soap ingredients. Trying to tell the story of how sustainable work transforms people’s lives. Trying to tell the story about how people become less vulnerable when they have an ongoing income. How fraud is an integral part of most trafficking. It’s getting a loan for medical care that you don’t realize you will never ever be able to repay. It’s saying yes to the person who is offering to educate your daughter in the city. It’s letting your daughter go to the city to work in a friend’s friends restaurant because you can’t afford food and school fees. This fraud is the backbone of how so many traffickers operate. Our soap is about slow hope. It’s not charity that gives the poor a hand-out today. It’s development that provides a sustainable job, which brings hope and dignity over time. It’s the fact that when you can afford to feed and educate your child, you don’t need to believe the traffickers. You don’t need your daughter to go to the city for an education if you are already feeding her and paying her school fees yourself.
Discipleship sits right in the middle of our business. Stewarding our business and telling our story well. There’s the diligence of bringing every resource that we have to the table. It’s listening to the hard critique (for which I’m incredibly grateful) and leaning into how I can better articulate what we’re doing. But, after we bring every resource that we have into doing the very best job that we can do, there’s relinquishing the result.
Because I’m stepping into a story that I didn’t write. Way, way, long back, there was a crack in the Fall of humanity. As still happens today, it was rooted in deception, lies and finger-pointing. And since that brutal Fall, God has been at work using His people to make it right. We are His plan for redemption. And that’s the genesis of so many redemptive stories. From Moses to William Wilberforce to Harriet Tubman to Gandhi, God uses people to bring redemption to the world. So, yes, I need to tell the story in the very best way that I can. I need to connect the dots for people. But, in the end, the story of our company is just a subplot in God’s much bigger redemptive story. Which helps me breathe and remember that the story is way bigger than I am.
So, I’ll tell the beginning of that story with the knowledge that it’s my best shot today, and then I would love to talk with you. I would love to hear from you about the parts that aren’t hanging together. Because I want to do the people involved in this story justice.
March 24, 2014
I’m in the midst of writing a booklet that will go out with each of our bars of soap. With the prevention of human trafficking being core to our mission, I was reading through the 2012 Trafficking in Persons report that is issued by the Secretary of State each year. Here’s what I found:
Difficult economic conditions and high unemployment render the Palestinians vulnerable to labor trafficking and exploitation in Israel and Israeli settlements. Widespread poverty and lack of economic opportunities have been cited as primary factors in human trafficking within the occupied Palestinian territory, including sex exploitation and worst forms of child labor. Finally, many cultural factors contribute to making Palestinian women and girls vulnerable to trafficking including susceptibility to family violence, forced marriage and lack of educational and employment opportunities.
I’m finding it difficult to find the words to express how grateful I am to be working with Canaan Fair Trade. I’m grateful for them and for the wonderful Palestinian people who work with them. They are making a difference. They are working to better their own futures. They are providing hope, dignity and opportunity. They are providing sustainable work and educational opportunities for their children. I’m so thankful.
March 18, 2014
Loving this from Henri Nouwen this morning.
There are many forms of poverty: economic poverty, physical poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty, and spiritual poverty. As long as we relate primarily to each other’s wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and soul strength, we cannot develop true community. Community is not a talent show in which we dazzle the world with our combined gifts. Community is the place where our poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn to cope with as best as we can but as a true source of new life.
An appreciation for my own poverty has been powerful as I seek to engage in helping others out of poverty. It brings me to a place where I’m not coming to help with my own house completely in order. It brings me as a co-sojourner. It brings a humility that says “You and I are both poor- just in different ways. Let’s learn from each other.”
March 17, 2014
Our favorite olive oil company is having a sale, and we wanted to make sure you knew about it. Their products are all super yummy. Certified organic and fair trade, their olive oil is some of the best out there.
While Canaan Fair Trade is our olive oil vendor, we have no financial benefit from promoting them. We just truly love their products- and we think that you will, too!
February 18, 2014
Frustrated Farmgirl is looking for a special someone to help us with social media.
- Are you passionate about fair trade?
- Are you looking for a way to be involved in the fight against human trafficking?
- Does the idea of alleviating poverty through sustainable job creation leave you hopeful? Maybe even excited?
- Are you looking for a way to be involved in bringing about economic justice?
- Do you love organic, fair trade handmade bodycare products?
If at least a couple of these describe you, you might be just the person we’re looking for.
I have been blogging for the last several years around these topics, but I stink at social media. I’m looking for someone to help me get our message out through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Before you respond, please take a look at the video on our site. It tells our story very briefly, and it will give you a good idea of what we are trying to do.
Small monthly stipend included, plus we’ll be happy to provide you with our lovely soap.
If you’re interested, please drop us a line at robinjohnsonsimpson at yahoo dot com and tell us about yourself.