Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Big Day for Dresses and More

We had told the women that there was a surprise for them and that the men must stay away. Again, the men had a difficult time with this concept as the whole community tends to participate in everything.

When Dr. Elizabeth was making house calls in the village, everyone followed her from house to house to watch the proceedings. I guess the patients are accustomed to this and don’t seem to mind. It makes for Live Action News!

The dresses were arranged in piles of Small, Medium and Large so they could find their size and choose a color or pattern they liked. This time we used a table instead of the sail on the ground. The ladies lined up and stayed relatively orderly except for a few who don’t understand English – and apparently, don’t pay attention to instructions in Bislama either!

The dresses were colorful and crispy new. The style is basically the same for all. I could guess which color a woman wanted after a while as they each tended to pick the same color they were wearing. Just like we do! We know what we like and what feels right on us. So do they. It was an interesting study in human behavior.

The women were actually giddy and giggly over the new underwear. Some were embarrassed which is why the men were told to stay away. Most of the women wanted the bikini panties that were for the younger ones. The medium sized were lower cut too, but that didn’t seem to matter.

I had to hide the bikinis until the younger girls came through as we started with the most senior women first and worked down the age ladder. I know some of the larger women cannot get their bums into the panties they chose and if they do manage, the elastic band will be very uncomfortable! No one wanted the larger panties even though I could tell you who needed them!

Then there were the bras! Some were very excited to get one; others, not so much. After all, they had gone without for years so why now? The bras were more difficult because there was no way to get the right size to them so they held them up, picked one and left.  It seems that color was more important than the fit! I imagine there will be some trading among the women. At least, there was the option to have one if they wanted it.

We had 100 dresses and were told there were 68 women age 15 and up. In the end, twelve extra dresses were selected by some of the younger girls. That was fine and why I had extras made as I did not want to be short. The remaining dresses will go to the ladies on Awei and others we meet. None will be coming home with us.

I felt great joy watching them get their new clothing. I can’t thank those of you who donated to Dresses for Dignity enough. Your contributions really meant that we could do more for the village. With the matching funds we provided, we were able to buy the underwear, additional household items and food for the families.

A number of you have asked how you can help.
We are still accepting contributions as we intend to fill the boat once again with food in Port Vila and take it up to Avokh and Awei before we leave Vanuatu. If you wish to contribute, please send a check to Sherry Day with Memo: Avokh to PO Box 348, Port Austin, MI 48467. It will be deposited so we can access the funds via ATM.

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