Flash back to April 2010. . . Margaret Johnson and Betty Merner, friends from Rhode Island and Rotary wives, arrived in Bukavu with four huge suitcases crammed with fabric, thread, patterns and stuffing so the Ushindi women could make 100 Waldorf Dolls to sell in the US.
FYI, Waldorf Doll is a form of doll used in Waldorf Schools, which are intentionally made simple to allow playing children to develop their imagination and creativity. Traditionally made of natural fibers, they are often without facial expressions so the child is free to create their own story.
On the first day after greetings were exchanged amongst the all the women, Margaret and Betty got to work organizing the women into five groups. Each group would be responsible for making 20 dolls: cutting the 6 pieces for each doll, sewing it together, stuffing the head and body, and stitching the bonnet onto the face.
Since Betty and Margaret are both teachers, it was easy for them to demonstrate what needed to be done and organize the center into a working assembly line.
Doll bodies were stacked, filler material was everywhere; while some women sewed, others stuffed the heads and arms. The women thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Eventually, the dolls began to take shape. With one day left to go, only 36 dolls were completed. Betty wondered if they would get all 100 dolls done by the time we left to go home.
And they did . . . The women came through, all 100 dolls were finished, beautifully made, with perfect stitching around the face. Betty reports that over 80 dolls have been sold, and the women are ready to make more.
With love and gratitude,