Frewhini and her Himbasha

So I made a new friend the other day. Frewhini. She invited me over to her house to show me the items she makes, to see if we can put them in the Anchor Of Hope Box. I’m always excited to meet a new artisan! I arrive at her home, after only getting lost once, and her son meets me at the door. He is so polite. I come in, she serves me Ethiopian coffee….. oh my goodness. How will I ever go back to my normal coffee now? This is too delicious. She tells me that she gets the bean from her country, and she roasts it herself, but does it outside, because the smell is so strong it fills the whole neighborhood. I would like to be around for that! I ask her where she is from and she tells me Eritrea. I smile politely like I know where that is, but I don’t of course. She catches on. “Have you heard of Eritrea?” “I have heard of it but am not familiar with where it is located”, I reply, which is truth. She tells me it is next to Ethiopia. They were the same country until 23 years ago (there you go, a free history lesson for you). She lived there, during the war, but wasn’t able to go to school because of it. So when she arrived here, she didn’t speak the language and was uneducated. Two women befriended her, and invited her to join them at their church, and visit with them in their homes. “I don’t know why,” she tells me “because I didn’t speak the language. But this is how I learned. They would hold my children and let me sit with them and I learned. This is how I know English now.” The kindness of these women’s hearts. I love it.
That’s a great reminder that how we treat people can have a huge impact. In this case, a beautifully positive one.
Frewhini taught me how to make himbasha, an Eritrean bread. Her recipe is going to be featured in the November box, along with some spices that she roasts and grinds herself. More on that to come….

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Halloween!

20151031_165042-1I never realized how strange our American customs were until I tried explaining Halloween to an African family.

“I will pick you up and we will go trick-or-treating….”

“I mean, we will put on costumes and…..”

“Ok, we will put on outfits that make us look like something else…..”

I’m obviously back-pedaling at the confused look on their faces.

“Once we have our costumes, err, different outfits on, we will go to houses and ring the doorbell. When someone answers, we will yell ‘Trick-or-treat!’ and they will put candy in our bags.”

At the word ‘candy’, they broke out in smiles.

Sugar is a universal language.

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The smiles lasted all evening. When they saw their costumes they could hardly contain their excitement. We practiced saying ‘Trick-or-treat’ and ‘Thank you!’ very loudly. We did not want to be rude trick-or-treaters!

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Even the mama got in on the fun. I love a woman who is not afraid to dress-up!

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We were quite the mob walking down the street. I’m so glad we have kind and loving neighbors!

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And the candy trading happening at the end was epic. Anniela’s favorite candy is Smarties, which is my kids least favorite…. So she traded her chocolate for their Smarties. Of course, my kids thought they got the better end of that deal…. But so did Anniela. 😉 Everyone was happy.

Until the next day when I realized my boys hid all their candy from me. Whaaaaa?? For good reason, yes. But still!
After all I do for them…

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Meet Klo Say

Klo Say

Meet Klo Say,  a Burmese refugee whose artwork was featured in October’s Anchor Of Hope Box. Burma is a place of severe persecution, with the government suppressing the minorities with cruelty and brutality, systematically torturing, imprisoning, killing, raping and forcefully relocating in an attempt at ethnic cleansing. Two days after the birth of his younger brother, Klo Say’s family was forced to flee in the middle of the night during an attack on their village. It was a long journey to the refugee camp across the Thai border, during which they often hid silently in the bush while gunfire from the rebel army rang out around them.

Speaking of his 11 years in the refugee camp Klo Say commented that “Life in a refugee camp is no different than a life in a bird cage. Your freedom is very limited within the cage and totally disconnected from the outside world.” Life was not safe either. The Burmese government still attacked the camp, much to the terror of those living there. But it was during this time that Klo Say discovered his passion to use art to help others. “Every day, I felt like I need to draw their pictures because I thought maybe one day I could show it to the world. Sometimes when I was in the refugee camp, I see a lot of kids deprived of everything. The children are very poor, and they need food. Parents don’t have money, so the kids just pick up a plastic bag on the street and they eat the leftover in it. When I saw them, I’m moved… I want to be able to do something for them. The children are the future. I want to give them hope.”

Klo Say says he is thankful for his life in the United States, where he is free to work and provide for his family. He uses his time to help other refugees who are resettling in the States, and being able to share his artwork is a dream come true. He hopes it inspires others and helps shed a light on what is happening to the Karen people of Burma.

This is an example of one of Klo Say's paintings
This is one of Klo Say’s beautiful paintings.
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Check out our new website!

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We are working hard getting ready for the October box! The cut-off date to subscribe is October 10th, so if you are thinking about joining, don’t wait! We want to give the artisans plenty of time to prepare everything.

Wait till you see what is being made….. I just can’t wait. 🙂

In the meantime, if you haven’t been by lately, come check out our new website! It has new pictures, thanks to Wayne Reich at Sunset Hills Photography, new information and a new layout. Let us know what you think!

 

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Meet Emmerance

Emmie

Look at this cutie! Her parents are artisans with Anchor Of Hope box so I get the privilege of hanging out with this little lady. When she comes over, she likes to have her own personal photoshoot. Being able to see herself in the camera is new and exciting stuff! She came from a single room hut with mud floors in Africa where she lived the first three years of her life. But you would never know it by the way she works the camera….

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