Day 3 of 12 Artisans of Christmas: Meet Emile

 

Madame Emile was one of the first to sign up for The Haitian Bead Project in Pignon, Haiti

Madame Emile struggled when she first joined the group of artisans from Pignon.  Her fingers fumbled over the skewers and glue. Her beads were lopsided at best. Her eyes betrayed her.

Despite poor eyesight, she persevered.

Some suggested she cut the cardboard for the group, or help sort supplies, but Madame Emile was determined she would roll beads and string jewelry like the other women. She would not be discouraged. This mother to five grown sons and grandma to a long line of grandkids throughout the island would not give up.

She enlisted some help from one of her oldest granddaughters and together they figured it out. After six months of trying, Madame Emile’s beads started to improve. Her bracelets and necklaces began to sell. She had a little extra money that enabled her to get eye surgery.

Madame Emile & granddaughter Betsy work together

This fall Madame Emile and granddaughter Betsy learned how to make Christmas stars to sell for the Christmas season. Madame Emile crafted the beads while Betsy strung them on thin wire and formed them into the star shapes. The two were a team.

Madame Emile even offered her jewelry to friends as gifts. Her knew skills have offered her a sense of dignity and sprouting creativity.

Madame Emile shows off her new earrings

In Haiti a married woman goes by her husband’s first name. Madame Emile’s husband, Emile, was recently diagnosed with cancer. She rolls beads today with a new purpose: earning money to help with his medical bills.

Despite a few failed attempts, she finally mastered the art of making earrings. Her face speaks pride.

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