Six years ago, Jamie and I began to work together, cooking up some tasty jackets and vests. With her beautiful sewing, I finally convinced Jamie to come on board full-time to do something crazy fun.
In the years since, Jamie helped me to birth Ibu. Together, we crafted a line of clothing. Jamie began to oversee 100-plus artisan groups and no longer sat down to the sewing machine but to the iPad, where she sketched our designs and emailed our collaborators around the world.
Jamie and her husband spent two years working toward a foreign adoption, and, at the final moment, were crushed to learn that their agency withdrew from Ghana, where they had pitched their hopes. Their newly purchased house flooded badly. Twice. There were hard moments, bare hearts.
And then, she gave birth to Clementine. Our first Ibulita. Our littlest Wee-bu. I mean, a big old package ofLOVE.
Far away, in the rural Andean mountains of Peru, Teresa, Victoria, Nemecia, and Florentina are building a life from their knitting skills, crafting soft cuddlies for Clementine. Through the work of Awamaki, their artistry is finding a new market, and their families a new kind of hope. Visionary Kennedy Leavens says, I founded Awamaki in the belief that income in the hands of women is the best way to lift communities out of poverty.
I couldn't agree more.
Clementine - in her alpaca snugly hat with ears, in her mittens and booties and loveys and llamas - Clementine is already connected to these women of Peru, already happier for the gifts of their skilled hands. And Florentina and friends are happier for having work that honors them. Income that sustains them. Respect that elevates them.
Each year, we begin again to work and hope and join our forces for the good of women and children everywhere. For Jamie in her new life with Clementine and for Clementine in her new life with the women of Peru - for all of us in this together. Here we go into a brand new year, making it warmer, softer, gentler for those who look to us in trust. I mean, let's welcome the wee-bu of the world . . . and the women of Awamaki . . . into a vast and prosperous circle of belonging. And Jamie at the center of it, mother to Clementine, (my joy!), sister to Florentina (my inspiration!). One family, one world. One circle, knit together with a strong hope.
To a dazzling 2019 ~
Susan Hull Walker