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#4503: Jewelry production in Pandiassou: Rogers (fwd)

From: Jeffrey J Rogers <claywork@juno.com>

	There is a new phenomenon in Pandiassou, Haiti, a small village not
unaccustomed to phenomenon since the work of Brother Frankjlin Armnand,
Sister Emmanuelle Victor and the Little Brothers and Sisters of the
Incarnation began there nearly 25 years ago.  There in the Central
Plateau of Haiti surrounded by productive fields, the manmade ponds built
by the community to irrigate the land, and under the shade of trees that
represent successful reforestation efforts, nearly twelve young women
gather and spend each day working on stringing beads together into
necklaces.  They have individually formed and fired these beads at home,
but come together to string them under the watchful eye of Sister
Violette, the "responsible" for the jewelry project and for all quality
control.  These dozen women are still in the learning stages and
represent less than one fourth of the women now working full time to
create beautiful jewelry and earn a living from their production. 
	It all began with a Potters for Peace trip last August when Maritza Blas
Cano, came with us from San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua to Pandiassou,
Haiti, to share with four groups of four women her artistry, her life
experience, and her compelling testimony of achieving economic
independance.  Maritza, speaking through an interpreter, was an effective
communicator and excellent teacher.  Unknowingly one of the twelve women,
Mme. Josnere was to become the hero of this story.  Over time it turned
out that every one of Maritza's original students stopped making jewelry
except for Mme. Josnere.  Mme. Josnere continued however despite  jabs,
and insults she received from many village women saying that her jewelry
making was silly, demeaning and slave labor.  Mme. Josnere continued
despite the ridicule.  As she began to make money some of the women began
to come to her quietly asking that she teach them as well.  Now Mme.
Josnere has taught over 50 women who continue to work full time forming
and firing the clay beads that they turn into necklaces, earrings and
bracelets.  Most of these 50 women were previously unemployed.  Mme.
Josnere is a selfless, patient and encouraging teacher.  She believes
that the more women she teaches, and the better known the jewelry of
Pandiassou becomes, the better it will be for both herself, her family
and the whole community.
	Sister Violette, one of the Little Sisters of the Incarnation in
Pandiassou oversees the whole project.  For her now this has become an
almost full time job.  She meets with the beginners every day, and when
women have a bulk of necklaces to sell, she buys them, paying careful
attention to consistency and quality.  All this means that the necklaces
are marketable, and whole saleable.  This means that when a shop places
an order they can know what to expect.
	Last week I purchased 750 necklaces for $2.00 each.  I am adding .50 to
that price to help cover the costs of the findings, shipping and
transportation necessary, and can wholesale the necklaces in lots of 100
for $2.50 each.  We are looking for markets for the work.  Lots of 50 are
$4.00.  In quantities of less than 50 they are $5.00.  The necklaces
would make excellent fund raisers for groups or individuals trying to
raise money for such things as trips or brigades to countries like Haiti
and Nicaragua.  We would love to find so many markets for these beautiful
pieces that hundreds of women will eventually be working in Pandiassou!
	For more information contact Jeff Rogers directly at claywork@juno.com
610 Chattanooga Valley Road
Flintstone, Ga. 30725

Potters for Peace volunteer Jeff Rogers and his wife Beth plan to spend a
three month immersion period in Haiti beginning this fall.  By January
they hope to be living in Pandiassou and working together with the
community there on the jewelry project, Potters for Peace water filter
production, product development, and teaching throwing through the
technical school there using five newly constructed kick wheels.  They
are going under the auspices of Beyond Borders, and will work in close
partnership with Potters for Peace.

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