Monday, March 19, 2007

Charkhas for Ethiopia

I returned from a Youth and AIDS meeting in Johannesburg last week and found this email from one of the Ethiopian participants I met there. His name is Nibretie, a program officer from a UN agency in Addis Ababa. He wrote:

Dear Therese,

Thank you for all your logistical support for the Regional Consultation in South Africa.

Please advise how we should start the project you told me last time to support women in spinning and weaving. Maybe you could send me the type of materials that could be made available so that I can discuss the issue with my colleagues and partners?

As you know, there are a number of destitute women who need to be supported to improve their livelihood. There are also sex workers and women living with HIV/AIDS who badly need such support.

Thank you and kind regards,


Today, as I was sipping coffee at the office cafeteria after lunch, who should I see but Nibretie, in Washington for a training course. He was surpised to see me as well as he didn't think I was based in Washington.

Now I have to quickly put together something for Nibretie to take back to Addis. Fortunately, I still have one book charkha at home. I've just ordered a DVD copy of "Basic Techniques and Charkha Proficiency" by Eileen Hallman to serve as a manual and I hope it arrives before he leaves end of next week.

Today I also placed an order for a Babe charkha and Pinkie from Nels Wiberg of Babe's Fiber Garden. The Babe will go to Ethiopia, while the Pinkie will go to Mali. I have a standing request from Korotimi of the Sinigessigui guild in S├ęgou, Mali, for a Pinkie.

Previously, I gave Sinigessigui four sets of handcarders and four book charkhas. At that time, I didn't know the Malians knew how to use spinning wheels so I brought only one Pinkie which went to the Nieleni guild in the same city. Korotimi has since, checked out the Pinkie at their sister guild and I got an email saying, yes, they are interested in receiving one.