my life songs

the last step
July 28, 2011, 5:38 pm
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it’s been a year.  a year of trial and error.  a year of hoping and praying that things would work out.  we’ve managed, but we’ve never quite been able to stay on top.  the art co-op is always just one month away from not being able to pay the women or buy supplies.  and the women still find themselves in debt and unable to pay doctors fees for their family’s illnesses.  it’s all enough to make you feel defeated and want to give up.

rachel just got back from canada this week.  she leaves again in september, which means we have a short amount of time to make things happen.  good news is we haven’t given up, and for the blessing of a few faithful women we still have hope of making a difference.

what’s the next step?

in order for things to move forward we need to be able to write up contacts for all of our women.  this will allow us to move forward with contract based work, making only what we are able to sell, and hopefully no longer loosing money on poorly made products or lost materials.  contracts for 30 people are going to cost us about $1000.

we also need to purchase materials.  there is a shipment of supplies in puerto plata waiting to be picked up that cost about $700 is shipping.  plus, rachel and i still need to make the trip to santiago for beads and the remaining supplies that are purchased here in the country.  bottom line is the art co-op needs a couple thousand dollars.

please help!

you can make donations INTO ALL THE WORLD.  make sure to include on the memo line “for Rachel Sticklee Dominican Republic.”

for mailing in canada:


336 Speedvale Ave W., Unit K
Guelph, Ontario

for mailing in the USA:

c.o BGI
PO Box 702925
Tulsa OK 74170-2925

if for nothing else donate because they’re pretty.


a little reminder
July 21, 2011, 1:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

a group of about 12 came to visit the art co-op yesterday.  people come to visit all the time, mostly just to buy stuff.  this group was really interested in learning about la tienda and how we run.

people randomly contact me on occasion that they would like to visit us.  sometimes they ask us if we would like a team of volunteers.  because we focus on providing sustainable jobs for local women here and the nature of how we work, we don’t really have a means of hosting short-term volunteers.

when a personal supporter of rachel or mine comes to visit, or someone that has supported la tienda with sales or something of the sort, we dedicate a little bit more time to showing them around, letting them help out with daily activities, and getting to know the women.

on occasion someone will contact me and i get the notion that it will be worth the while to spend a bit more time with them “hosting.”   sometimes a partnership is formed.  sometimes they sale for us once and it helps us get through another month.  sometimes they come and go and we carry on as usual.

it had been a long time since i had interacted with a group for something other than opening up the store to let them buy goods from out beautiful women 🙂  i forgot how encouraging they can be.  they have fresh eyes and un-jaded hearts.

things have been a little tough lately, to say the least.  everything that happened with alfonso, the community’s response, and the ungrateful attitude from the women had really gotten me down and uninspired to work.

the time that i spent with the group yesterday was really rewarding for me.  they were here in the country with an organization that has been working in the south for over 15 years!  they build homes, latrines, provide funding for schools, etc.  they are hoping the branch out and start providing income for families in their area.

they came fully prepared for the day and were ready with lots of questions.  i tried my best to provide them with relevant information.    it was so simple for me… talk about what i have done for the past two years, and show them around.  they seemed so grateful for the time i shared with them.

they day and this group in particular was encouraging to me for two reasons.  it reminded me of how much work we have really done, how much sacrifice rachel has made of the past 6 years, how far the women have come, and ALL that WE have accomplished.  it really made all the hard work seem worth it.  i was also encouraged and humbled to be praised by my peers, people that are here in the country with the same hope, to make life a little better for the poor.  to you dear friends, i am humbled and have nothing but respect for you.

after reflecting a little bit on the day, i feel as though God had divinely appointed this moment for us.  i was in desperate need of a little reminder.  my hope is that i could have been equally helpful to the courageous women that visited us.  may you be strengthened by the Lord and carry on.

i wish i had gotten a picture with them to show you 😦


look who came to visit me yesterday….
July 19, 2011, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

my godson, Carlos.  he has teeth.  he’s walking and talking.  and he drove himself over on a moto all by himself.  well, that part’s not true, but he is getting really big.

yoslena has become such a good mama.  it’s incredible to watch her discipline him and play with him.

she told me some disheartening news though.  her grandma has kicked her out of the house.  i believe she sleeps at a friend’s house, but she doesn’t really have a home.  i’m going to try to get carlos some stuff he needs this week.

update about alfonso
July 4, 2011, 12:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

alfonso was able to have surgery and it went well.  praise the Lord for tati and all of the days that she spent with him at the hospital, away from her family, without eating, changing his diapers, bathing him.  i am overwhelmed by seeing her be so Christ-like.

today i will be taking alfonso to dr. bob’s clinic.  he has offered a space for alfonso and hospice care.

thank you all for praying, and praise God for the sweet people that have taken care and will take care of alfonso.

urgent prayer request
June 30, 2011, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

sweet alfonso.  alfonso is our watchy.  he lives in the art co-op and makes sure no one steals our goods.  we try our best to take care of him.  he receives a salary, has a place to sleep, a nice bed, but he doesn’t have any family or people to really care for him.  there is a woman that cooks him food, but he’s getting old.  he has been diagnosed with glaucoma, and pretty much can’t see anymore.  sometimes he needs help getting to the bathroom.

the day after i arrived from being home in the states for my brother’s wedding i was informed that alfonso was really sick and in the hospital.  now, tati just came back and told me that the pressure in his eye had gotten so back that it “exploded.”  he needs to have surgery to have his eye removed.  being an old haitian man they aren’t really giving him the best care at the hospital.  and tati, bless her soul, has been taking care of him every day.  10 days she has spent going into town, every day, to change his sheets, change his diapers, and take him food. tati, a poor woman herself, with no one willing to help her.  she tried to get some of the other art co-op women together to help her, but no one wants to.  they think he is not their responsibility.  and other “aide” organizations have told her the same.  they have all said, “no, he’s rachel’s responsiblity.  he works for her.”  it makes me so unbelievably angry.  he still is a human being.  we all have the responsibility to take care of God’s children, especially the elderly.  i’m soooo mad.

so please pray for alfonso.  pray that we could financially be able to take care of this burden.  pray that God would make a way, a way for alfonso into His arms.

new la tienda
May 25, 2011, 3:22 pm
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these Long Strand Pearls are available on our online store.

check out what else is there:

tati is the best
May 25, 2011, 3:13 pm
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i just wanted to share a little more about how awesome tati is….

i believe i mentioned in a previous post that violeta has been very sick…. if not, please pray for her, she is still very ill.  i haven’t been to see her in a while.  they say she is doing a little better, but she is still unable to work.  violeta is one of the women of the art co-op that has been a friend to me, and it makes me very sad to see her like she is.  she has some form of severe anemia, and in the past year she lost both of her parents to TB.  i’m not a doctor, and i wish i knew more about what to do for her.  there are people tending to her, but she doesn’t really have anyone to help her all of the time, or help her with her work.

before rachel left she had talked with violeta’s brother about doing her work for her, but he didn’t want to do anything without being paid.  understandable, but now he has completely stopped, and the art co-op just can’t afford to pay violeta if we don’t have any of her work to sell.  i was feeling burdened by this and i just didn’t know what to do.

yesterday i went into the village to work with tati on some things.  we were going over what women were missing work, etc.  she informed me that SHE DID ALL OF VIOLETA’S WORK FOR HER.  i was shocked.  she said that she felt bad and wanted her to receive her pay.  so she stayed up late every night and finished a month of work in one week!  i am continually amazed by tati’s initiative and compassion for others.  the art co-op would be a complete disaster if not for her.  she is the glue that holds it together.

praise the Lord for tati, and please continue to pray for violeta.