Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Women & Their Work

Me in the earrings that started it all.
I wasn't looking for another job last month when I learned about the Entoto Project and Tesfanish. I wasn't thinking about Ethiopia very much, and I didn't even know there were women who could spin sorrow into hope, devastation into genuine beauty. I went to a good friend's home for a Noonday trunk show in May, and all I wanted was a pair of gold earrings. I got so much more that night.
As the Noonday ambassador, Cynthia, spoke on behalf of the company and its' artisans, she lifted up ropes of gorgeous metal jewelry and said that it was made up upcycled artillery from past wars in Ethiopia. Who knew you could take a weapon of war and burn it into a glistening bead? And then string that bead and a thousand others onto a line and feel the weight of artillery redeemed, death used for life, and display it on your neck as an emblem of hope? I didn't.
As Cynthia and I talked that night and I held the Bethe Rope and beaded bracelets in my hands, I knew one thing to be true. Here was beauty out of ashes. Here was redemption, tangible and weighty, shining in the palm of my hand. My heart leapt, friends! I know about beauty from ashes. How God can take a smoldering wick and fan it into a flame that could set an entire life ablaze.
Because I know that not having access to dignified and fair work can crush a person, I wanted to become an ambassador for Noonday, which means that I will stand up and tell the artisans' stories of hope and transformation and talent to other women and sell their jewelry in a market that will pay a fair and ethical wage to these artisans. I am thrilled to point you to the impact section of the Noonday website, where you can hear Tesfanish's bold and beautiful story. I plan on writing more about the Noonday Collection and what I'm learning about modern slavery and the way threads of redemption can be found in the darkest of places.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10

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