Our Bible study was cancelled the other night. God had other plans. One of the women in our study is a missionary who teaches English to the Spanish-speakers and also hosts a women's sewing group. The women in this group are island women, neighbor's of Deborah's who desperately need a way to make money. Deborah's church in the U.S. provided 3 brand new Janome sewing machines and gave the women basic sewing lessons. The women are using donated fabric to make small items to sell in the gift shops near the cruise ship pier, including the Made In Roatan shop. They make headbands and bows, eyeglass cases, small purses, etc. These sewing machines also allow them to do some fancy finishes. Unfortunately, two of the machines were not working properly. Deborah knew that I sewed and asked if I could come over and take a look at the machines, so off I went.
I worked on the one machine for about an hour, cleaning it, testing it and all the while chatting with Doris as she sewed on the one working machine. The tension was messed up (hate that! So hard to correct.) and the bobbin thread was wadding up and then the upper thread would break. And somehow, the thread was getting wrapped around a lever arm behind the thread guides. I didn't see how that was even possible.
The next day, I went back and took Don with me. We worked on both machines all morning. The second machine also had thread wrapped tightly around the lever arm. Don didn't see how that was possible either. We finally had to admit defeat. Both machines had serious, yet different, tension problems and these Janome machines weren't as simple to figure out as my Singer. I told Deborah that we needed to find someone on the island who was skilled in sewing machine repairs.
A couple of nights later, Don and I attended an art show given by a budding new artist, a self-taught island woman, who is a friend of Deborah's, and who is incredibly talented. Deborah came up to me and joyfully reported that she had found a tailor who was good at repairing sewing machines. We hope he can get these straightened out soon. Deborah wants me to come back and teach the women about basic machine maintenance. I'm also thinking about other simple things that I could teach them to sew. Should be fun.
Bob and Debi have been blessed by one of their cruise ship customers who saw the good work they are doing here to help struggling families and created an online store for them so they can now sell internationally! It is already a success. There are bios on the various artists and photos of them as well as photos of the items available for purchase. Here's a link to the shop: www.made-in-roatan.com