I chose Tuesday to have only those who were almost done with quilts, and those who had already finished their quilts come and sew with me. I started the finished sewers on applique using the templates and buttonhole stitch. Most of them caught on quickly, but if I did not find their stitches up to an appropriate level, I would take them out, and have them start again. The goal of this was to try to help them to take pride in their stitching. Even after this, two of them were still struggling with their stitches, so I decided to team them up with others who had already mastered the skill. I was impressed with how well this seemed to help them improve. The sewers love to joke with me saying “applique, applique, Janet applique!” Our next project, which they are very excited about, is to make a new quilt with patterns I brought down with me. I am excited that they understand that this quilt will be going home with me. I have explained to them that I will sell it in America and use the profits to purchase more materials for the project. I feel as though this shows that they have started to trust me, and are becoming invested in the project.
Once we had finished sewing for the day they begged me to let them take some applique home, so that they could continue to improve their skills. They all left with a lot of work to be done and lots of bits of fabric and templates for practice. They are so excited by all the templates that I am making more, so that we don’t run out. Some have even improvised their own plant designs on templates. I am especially impressed with a new comer who is Ammonia's husband. He is competent in whatever he does, and Ammonia has been helpful in giving him direction. He is learning quickly, and I am impressed with his quilting and applique skills. I have also been working with Guellor, who is Deb’s helper at the house, on finishing a quilt that he started during my last trip. He continues to do work that is intricate and beautiful.
Unfortunately, I have only gone to the school once this week because I need almost every free minute to prepare for the next days sewing lesson. But when I did go I enjoyed myself immensely. We sang The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Bingo. The children were a little shy at first with their singing, but once they saw how loud and enthusiastic I was about the songs, they seemed to come alive. By the end they had even learned all of the hand motions that went along with the songs. When it was time for me to leave, Christelle was holding onto me and saying, "Janet you cannot go yet!” I was reluctant to say goodbye but it was time for me to get back to work.
Today is Thursday and I am planning an applique session this afternoon for the villagers. After sewing we will be going down the mountain to the house of Deb and John’s children, Alice and Alphonse. This trip is to celebrate the inter-calendar days of the Baha’i faith. These days are similar to Christmas. Gifts are exchanged between family members, and this time is also used to visit the poor. Today we are feasting, but this feast will be followed by nineteen days of fast.