Sew Busy—Feb. 5, 2018

Sewing supplies are often donated.

Mission week has been mission month for some volunteers who come early and stay late. One of the leaders of Friends of Cozumel is Ilene from Texas. She specializes in long hours and hard work—often related to leading sewing workshops.

Ilene and her group of talented and patient volunteer teachers recently completed their eighth sewing workshop in 2018 bringing the total of those served to nearly 70 people. Workshops were held for seniors, youth and church congregations.

Participants learned to operate electric sewing machines, repair and hem clothing, construct cinch bags, boxer shorts, blouses, skirts, home decor and church banners.

“I was a little nervous of the machine,” said Irma, a first-time participant. “Never have I done this. Maybe I could learn to make a skirt with more practice.”

“Hats off to Ilene and Ellen for the hours they spent prior to the workshops buying materials and cutting and serging the fabric before hand,” said Hettie, one of volunteer sewing instructors. “For every hour of any project, numerous hours have been spent beforehand in preparation to help the local people learn real skills.”

From left: Ellen, Ilene, Anne and Pastora Mariela collaborated on a banner.

Here’s Ilene’s perspective:

“This month has been filled with lots of opportunities to share new skills with the people of Cozumel.  It is always such a blessing to have the opportunity to work with these people because they are so anxious to learn and appreciate the things that we are able to share with them.  It has been such a joy over the past few years to see these women, men and children develop their skills.  Last night as I was helping a woman sew for the very first time, I watched her as she carefully executed the instructions she was given.  She was so nervous that she was perspiring.  She completed a beautiful pair of curtains that she will hang in her home.  The curtains are something that most homes do not have because of the cost, so for her to have the opportunity to make the curtains was such a blessing to her.  My blessing came from the opportunity to work with her, teach her and hug her when the task was completed.  I have had more hugs and kisses in the past month that I have had in years.

One of our biggest challenges is teaching the younger children, but they are so excited to learn.  These kids are between 8 and 12 and they completed cinch bags which they then painted with acrylic paints.  Our hope is that through these classes these children will see that they have talents and opportunities through the things they learn.  It always amazes me that in every children’s workshop we always have one or two kids who really catch on fast and excel.  Maybe someday, because of the opportunity to sew on a machine, they will become a tailor.

It has been a very busy month for us, but one that will keep reminding me just how much I love to come and work with the beautiful people of Cozumel.  The true blessing has come to Byron and me through the opportunity to serve.”

~ Ilene from Texas

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