Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Volunteering, traveling, beady donations...

5" doll form by Monica Magness, polymer clay face by Jen Martin
Materials used - Japanese & Czech seed beads, silver alpha beads, sequins, Czech pressed glass, sterling silver 'dream' charm.

Earlier this year I beaded a couple of items for a fundraiser. I have been on several volunteer vacations with an organization out of St. Paul, Minnesota. My first trip with them was back in 1995. It was my first time taking a vacation alone. That year, my son (and only child) turned 18 and much to my surprise moved - not only out of our home, but across the country.

Being quite young (34 years old), it certainly wasn't time for me to begin pondering my 'golden years'. I always had a desire to travel, so I began to search out a trip that would suit me. I discovered Global Citizens Network in my local Sunday paper when an article was published about volunteer vacations. I signed up for a week and a half stay in Tohatchi, New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation. It changed my life in many ways... all good.

I met 2 of my very best friends on that trip - they too were traveling alone. We naturally migrated toward one other. The following year we traveled together with the same organization to volunteer in Mexico. We stayed in a wonderful little Mayan village out in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula. A 9 hour bus ride from Cancun. The area was spectacular, on the edge of the rain forest - with lush vegetation and old untouched Mayan ruins. The food was exceptional and by food I mean mangoes, bananas, papaya's and the the best avocados ever. As a team we lived without many of the creature comforts that I had taken for granted most of my life... washing machine, TV, radio, running water (well sort of, but not really). We did have electricity though.

Me visiting Mayan Ruins, 1996

Our tasks consisted of building a latrine outside the women's co-op (they had a little issue with snakes), cleaning up the local water source (a natural spring), and painting signs advertising the women's co-op. We were sensitive in our attire, wearing dresses to work within the community. It was in June and it was HOT and HUMID, making for an interesting fashion statement with our dresses and boots. This trip was life changing for me and a wonderful bonding experience with my new friends, we regularly (and fondly) reminisce about those trips today. I have taken two other trips with the GCN organization and continue to enjoy that method of travel combined with volunteering.

This past March, Global Citizens Network had it's 15Th anniversary and marked the occasion with a celebration in Minneapolis, MN. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend and to donate a couple of items to the silent auction. One item being a small doll pictured above, the other this brooch pictured below - beaded in the colors found on GCN's t-shirts.

Materials used: 2"x2" pin beaded on pellon and backed with ultra suede, Japanese & Czech seed beads, metal charms/beads, swarovski margarita beads.


Hélène H said...

Wow, I definitely love your work ! It makes me feel happy.

Grace said...

Hi Hélène,

I'm so glad it makes you feel happy, thanks for stopping by.

Take care,

Leaves of Grass

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body - Walt Whitman