Sewing Short-Term Mission Teams from MVCanada

On of the main purposes of sending sewing teams to countries is to enable women to increase their skills and contribute to their families income.  Many women are uneducated but are very skilled with embroidery and hands on skills.  Our goals are to help refine them and encourage them discover their talents. 

In Guatemala I worked with some women and young girls and taught them how to smock.  I brought down new sewing machines  and a pleater, fabric, thread and patterns.  I made up a kit of a prepleated bonnet with scissors, thread and ribbons.  This enabled them to start right away learning how to smock and after they had the basic stitches I went back and taught them how to construct the bonnet.  Due to time constraints I was only able to teach the teachers how to run the pleater and construct a dress.  The women were so eager to learn and some of them had worked on it at home.  Probably one of the most frustrating thing is the language barrier and translating sewing terms is difficult.  You can however teach alot by demonstration. 

Three weeks after returning from Guatemala I headed off to Peru with 2 other ladies that are very skilled in sewing and embroidery.  We were at the Hogar Maternal in Yurimagus land of uttermost beauty and heat.  There we taught the staff and 2 ladies that had travelled 24 hours by a long canoe to learn to sew.  This was one of the  most remarkable experiences I have ever had.  The staff were looking after seven children and a mom with twins while trying to learn to sew.  They were like sponges soaking up everything we showed them.  We worked on pattern making, understanding an electric sewing machine, quilting by hand and hand embroidery.  These women caught on so quickly we even had a quick study in Rosetta a little 9 year old malnourished girl.  She was absolutely amazing.  Her little brother Elton John was 14 months old and weighed 9 lbs, he was he her sole concern.  She looked after him and showed him everything she learned from us. She could cross stitch as well as the adults.  I made 5 little sundresses and when it came to hers she helped thread the needle of the machine when it became to dark for old eyes to see and helped guide the fabric through the machine. 

The staff are hoping to make crafts and sell them to earn money to buy medicines for the babies.  Often the pregnant women arrive with only the clothes on their backs and need a change of clothing.  We designed a maternity dress that could be available for them at the Hogar.  Because it is so HOT there the dresses need to be very light weight and 100 percent cotton or rayon.  They have many fabric stores in Yerimagus and the fabric is very cheap $2-$4 a meter the problem is that they lack the funds to purchase the fabric. 

When we arrived they didn't have diaper's for the children so we purchased diaper fabric and one of the staff Nora suggested that we use different colour of thread for each child when we sewed up the edges.  They are so clever and do so much with so little. 

We have learned so much from them and they have left foot prints on our hearts that we will never forget them.  We were on our 5 hour journey back to Tarapoto through the jungle planning our next trip back.  We even have projects for our husbands to do next time.  Our daughters will come to help with the children so the staff will have more time to sit and learn.  I am so grateful for the experience of working with other women and sharing the love of sewing with them.  It crosses all boundaries, cultural and language. I know that the miracles that occurred all along the way on our journey to the jungle that God has a plan to multiply these women's talents.  I am eager to go back and see the work that has been done.
For more information on Sewing Mission Teams, contact the MVCanada office.