January 27, 2017
* Jimini Collections was kind of enough to gift me one of their necklaces in trade for a review. The stories and opinions reflected in this post are those of my own and ones I wanted to share with you so you can understand why I felt a need to work with them.*
Today’s post is one I thought about talking about awhile ago… but I chickened out. Even when my sweet friend Annie told me she wanted to hear more about my Engineers Without Borders (EWB) trip to Honduras… I hesitated. I think I started this place as a beauty blog and was so hesitant to share anything personal or much in my past – something I was trying to desperately avoid when I started this place. (Breakups and heartbreaks, you know the deal.)
But when Jimani Collections reached out to me and talked about collaborating, I was reminded of how much of an impact that trip had on my life and how much I still carry that small Honduran town in my heart. So while it kills me that it took a company reaching out to me to speak from my heart, I am also really excited that I now have the opportunity to spotlight such a great company with amazing intention.
As a young-ish college senior I got an amazing opportunity to travel with EWB down to a rural mountain town in Honduras.
Our group had combined with our University of Wyoming Nursing school to build a dentist office, though it would also be used for other medical purposes, for Agua Salada and other surrounding communities, like El Rodeo . The nursing group at the time held their week long health clinics for the community in the local church. During the early mornings I would wake up eat a home cooked breakfast prepared by some of the local women and then march off to the building site to help complete the leach field behind it.
I often joke that the only time I didn’t sweat during this trip was in the shower (and by shower I mean the two inch PVC pipe that came out of the ceiling of our bathroom) because sweet lou… was it h o t in Honduras.
The physical work of actually building the medical office essentially stopped at 10am as the sweltering sun was just too much. And this was so hard for me to accept at first! I’m so used to the go-go-go atmosphere in the US that stopping in the middle of work seemed so odd to me. But luckily the health clinic in the church was happy to have my overly eager (and I’m sure slightly annoying) attitude down in the church passing out supplies.
Our lives in Agua Salada were so much simpler than almost anything else we see in the US. While my overprotective Southern momma made sure I had cell phone service in Honduras, I had essentially nothing that I have now.
I traveled without any makeup.
I slept on a sleeping bag in a tent in the church lawn.
I walked everywhere once in Agua Salada.
I ate some of the best food of my life.
I had one gravity toilet and no running water.
I lived for a week in a new country, not really wanting to leave.
Along with passing out supplies like shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. during the day I was also recruited to head to the neighboring towns to talk at the schools!
I loved these days.
While I maybe didn’t love the hour long walks in the heat it took to get to the neighboring cities, it definitely helped me work off some of those handmade tortillas I was gorging myself on and it also helped me see even more parts of a virtually unknown country to me.
We passed out toothbrushes and ‘anteojos de sol‘ talking to the kids about the importance of both. We didn’t pass out toothpaste with the toothbrushes because the nurses noticed that the children and even adults stopped brushing their teeth the minute they ran out of toothpaste. And they said that it was vital they brushed their teeth, toothpaste or not.
I will say this – I am no a nurse. Because nurses are extremely hard core and simultaneous caring people. And I am not even a bit hard core, though I try my hardest at being caring.
When a local man walked in with an infected cut from his machete and the nurses extracted a maggot from the cut… I had to politely excuse myself from the church and grab some fresh air. The nursing students were fascinated all the while tending to the man commending him on being so tough. I was in awe at them. And also trying to not pass out.
So long story short – nurses are down right amazing and I am thankful to be able to walk into any hospital any day in my life.
Or skinny white girls. There were three of us who were kindly and collectively called ‘the flacas.’
It was a term of endearment handed down from our host community and our translators. As let’s face it ‘the flacas’ stuck out like sore thumbs. We were all from Wyoming which meant we hardly had any sort of tanned skin, something that seemed to odd to the little ones and our disjoined Spanish was average at best. I definitely tried to blend in as much as I could as I ate just about everything set in front of me – save the cheese but neither could my translator who lived there for over a year so I felt ok passing on it – and hiked with lots of the local kids letting them take charge and show us their country!
‘The flacas’ also learned that going to markets meant that no one would negotiate with us as it understood we had money, which wasn’t untrue. But we certainly did love leaning in and watching our local translators barter with vendors!
^^ The local Agua Salada school!
So what about this company?
Well while Jimani Collections supports women in small tribes in Kenya and not in Honduras, the familiarity of it definitely struck a cord with me. They help support women by not just creating sustainable income for them, but teaching them valuable skills to find more independence. I watched what a difference it made for the women’s families who cooked our food for a week and was amazed how a guaranteed income could make. So to help other women around the world with that same idea that I know I often take for granted is the very least I could do.
To say that I adore the Tatu Triangle Bone necklace Jimani kindly sent to me is an understatement. It’s beautiful gold and white style that fits perfectly into my closet and the quality is astounding. I’ve already shared it as a ‘neutral lover’s must have’ and always get compliments on it. While cruising around the site I couldn’t help but smile thinking about the women who can create such such gorgeous products for the simplest of items. I’m currently waiting for the natural cow horn vases to come back in stock as well some of their handmade bowls.
I dare you to look around on their site and not find something you won’t drool over.
To think that just because my photos weren’t pretty enough to share for a trip that had a tremendous impact on my life is extremely naive and silly of me. While it’s true my love for photography hadn’t blossomed yet during my senior year spring break trip, the photos still struck a cord of nostalgia with me
Well, volunteering is h u g e and I’ve actually considering reaching out to EWB and working with them as a professional. But really you don’t have to make huge commitments. You can simply shop with intention (we all know I’m trying this word on for size) with Jimani Collections and support talented, hardworking women.
What are some of your favorite ways to support communities near or far?
PS If you are wondering why my photos look a bit different, they are from a simple disposable camera back in the day 🙂 Proof that I don’t always need the highest end camera to create memories!