Modern Day Church Lady Adventure Pack

Modern Day Church Lady Adventure Pack

One of the best gifts I received this Christmas Season was my “Modern Day Church Lady Adventure Pack,” from my good friend and fellow Modern Day Church Lady, Valerie Mossman-Celestin, Executive Director of Haitian Artisans for Peace International (HAPI). All the items in my Adventure Pack were handcrafted by Haitian Women at the Merlet Center in Mizak Haiti.

In Valerie’s note she said that my adventure pack included:

A knapsack for your back

Burlap Bag

The knapsacks are made of burlap from discarded coffee bags. One of the things HAPI does is look for crafts that make a sustainable difference,  in both the economy and the environment. The burlap that this bag is made of would have just been tossed away. And now it helps carry my Modern Day Church Lady purchases.

A card for sharing the load for other women

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This embroidered card depicts one of the women literally sharing the load for other women on her head. Haitian roads are teaming with women transporting loads of goods this way. HAPI helps shares the load for Haitian women  by taking a woman-based approach to poverty alleviation.  All over the developing world, no matter what continent, studies have shown that women are more likely than men to invest their earnings back into their families and local communities.

A “make a difference” starfish ornament

Starfish Ornament

This ornament has special significance for me. Having spent most of my career in BIG corporations has made me underestimate the power of small individual actions. Yes, there are those exceptional individuals in business, politics and human rights that change the course of history, but they are few and far between.  For the most part, my training emphasized the power of big; big budgets to move markets, big field forces to mold minds and big blockbuster products to change lives.

The starfish reminds me that I can make a difference in someone’s life every day through even the smallest acts, even if it just is teaching one of my favorite young Haitian ladies, Bevika, a few English words and learning their Creole equivalent in the return.

One of my favorite young Haitian girls!
One of my favorite young Haitian girls!

The starfish ornament references the famous “Starfish Story” where a young boy tells an old man that he makes a difference to every starfish he throws back into the ocean. The young boy doesn’t stress out about not being able to save every last starfish on the beach. He just makes a difference where he can.

And cinnamon soap…because you’re just a little “spicy!”

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I’m sure she means “spicy” in a modern day church lady sort of way!” Although, I am known for my somewhat uninhibited style of conversation. For many  years I have worked  as a “below-the-belt” marketer in contraceptives, in erectile dysfunction and fertility. This means that I feel more comfortable than the average person talking about the various “nether region” body parts.   I remember accompanying my husband to his first corporate dinner function. He pleaded with me not to mention anything about Today Sponge Condoms (yes we made condoms too!). But alas, when people asked me what did, I could not tell a lie.

I love my gifts but they make me homesick for Haiti. There’s just something about the place!

Jamel Beach, Haiti
The Beach at Jacmel Haiti

BTW: If you would like to purchase any of these items or other crafts made by HAPI artisans, click here!

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