Enabling people to support their family – July 2013

Each time I prepare to make the trip to Cozumel, I always get excited, wondering what opportunities the Lord will provide us while we are on the island. One of the highest priorities for the work we do with Friends of Cozumel is working with families so that they might be able to use the skills and resources that they have, or that can be provided to them to improve their situation. One thing that I see over and over is a willingness and eagerness to learn and an appreciation for everything, no matter how small.

Alondra displays the dress made by her mother from an older used dress

We receive many donations through Friends of Cozumel and recently we received a surger, a specialized sewing machine which puts a professional seam finish on a garment. I have owned a surger and used it many times, but by no means understand the complexity of the machine. In fact, when one of the threads would break, I would call my daughter to come re-thread the machine. So, as I would say, I know just enough to be dangerous.

Elena is a young mother with 4 children and she and her husband Milton struggle to support their family through the low season in Cozumel. Milton is a hard worker and makes furniture, but items are just not selling right now. Elena has attended several of the sewing classes we have sponsored through NUAFA and through the years she has acquired her own sewing machine, but not without great sacrifice. She sews all of the clothes for her family as she acquires fabric. When visiting with her earlier this week, she showed us the end of school dress she had made for her daughter, Alondra, out of a dingy dirty dress someone had given her. She made the fabric white as snow and cut and fashioned a beautiful dress through her recycling efforts.

She shared with us that she wanted to earn some money for her family by making the skirts for the school uniforms. When we left there that day I knew that the surger could aid Elena in her business and make her garments have a professional finished look. Karen and I discussed this idea and I agreed to teach Elena what I knew about the surger (which remember is very little). We approached Elena with this idea and she was so excited.

Elena takes measurements for a new skirt she will make for this girl

Our training is complete, although there is a lot for Elena to learn about the surger. I told her that when she figures it all out, she can teach me when I come back to Cozumel. Several of our volunteers decided we could help Elena with her business if business cards were created, so now she has cards to hand out to those interested in her services.

Today, Elena measured her first customers and will begin sewing the uniform skirts. No purchased patterns for her, she measures and then makes her own patterns to fit each person, including whatever personal details they may desire. It is exciting to see Elena begin her business as she strives to feed and provide for her family and what a joy for Friends of Cozumel to be able to have a small part in this by loaning to her, donated resources she could never personally afford. If Elena finds that the surger does help her in her business, it is my desire to find another donor who would provide a surger for Elena to have as her own.

– Ilene Kendrick

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