We believe that there is a God and that He is heartbroken about the state of affairs in our world and the way we treat one another. We believe our heart for justice and the oppressed is a reflection of His heart. We believe that His economy is love and hope and life to the fullest, and that it is not slavery and oppression and bottom lines.
Because of that, we are part of a church called Southside Community Church. Southside has been going to a little country tucked away in Europe called Albania for 14 years. There is now a small church that meets in the community that Southside has been working in, and both Meghann and I (Dane) have been there to help and serve and be involved in the work that is happening. There is something about Albania that gets into your blood, and we have had a great desire to go back there again.
When we started The Intersection, it was only natural for us to investigate to see if there were any fair trade or ethical trade expressions coming out of Albania. Through a number of connections, we eventually found a woman named Dawn who had been working in Albania for many years. She had collected a group of women and was teaching them how to knit. These women had either been trafficked and rescued, were at risk of being trafficked, or were living with workplace barriers or disabilities. We were captured by the story of Dawn helping to return to them dignity and hope, and we knew we wanted to be involved.
Through a long string of e-mails, we have established relationship with Dawn, and we have brought in small amounts of the goods her group of ladies is producing. It has become more and more clear that we need to go and meet these women and hear their stories and help develop their work even more. We don’t just want to sell their goods. We want to be able to introduce the buyers of their goods to the stories of those who made them.
So we’ve been waiting and planning. Waiting for a Southside team that is going, and planning how in the world we’re going to haul a 3 year old and a 1 year old halfway across the world to one of the hottest places we’ve ever been on airplanes that will actually have other people on them. Joking aside, the time has come. On June 21 we will fly to Tirana, Albania as a family and will spend several days with the women working with Dawn. We’ll then meet up with the team coming from our church and spend a week with the small church in the village we’ve been working in.
We are excited and nervous and full of anticipation. We look forward to our story intersecting with that of these women, and being able to see into their homes and lives. We look forward to serving with the team in Sauk, and being able to connect with kids, youth, and families. Watch this space, because here we will relay the tales of our journey and those whom we encounter along the way. At risk of stretching the intersection metaphor too far… the lights are flashing– corner of Albania and Jaeger.
PS- We do have a bunch of items available from this cooperative for sale- cowls, fingerless gloves, headbands and boot cuffs. All proceeds from the sales will go straight back to the women. Please contact us if you have any interest. And yes, we know it is summer. But you don’t HAVE to leave your Christmas shopping ’til the month of December!