Here are photos of me, my mom, and my two daughters picking up our Papaya Bead necklaces from Esther's craft shop in Uganda.
After months of email correspondence (in a mix of English and Luganda--Okuyiga Luganda mpola mpola!), Esther had an order of 2,000 handmade paper bead necklaces ready for us! Opening each bag of necklaces was a wonderful surprise! Esther's handiwork was impressive and beautiful.
She is absolutely amazing and an inspiration of hard work, optimism, and creativity! As a steady flow of tourists stopped by to say hello to her she explained, ""When a person comes looking to find me at my craft shop, I tell them that to find Esther, you must look for a tall, beautiful woman who is always smiling, and that is how they will know that they have found me!"
I can't wait to share these necklaces with all of you! I know that you'll love them as much as Esther and I do!
We have just sent our 2017 necklace order to Esther! This year's order will feature two brand-new necklace styles, and more color choices in already popular styles!
This is the first official order that we've placed with Esther. Typically, we visit her shop in Uganda each year and select our necklaces from her stock. We pay her for the necklaces and then bring them back and sell them to raise funds for our education and child support programs. Over the past few years of selling Ether's necklaces, we have been able to identify styles and colors that sell out quickly. So this year I decided to work with Esther to create an inventory plan.
Papaya Beads now offers 10 necklace options, in 9 color choices. We hope that by listening to what our friends are interested in purchasing, we can raise more funds for TRUE Africa and, most importantly, provide Esther and her business with more work.
I've never run a jewelry business before, and this is Esther's first official order. I think both of us are a little nervous about how we will make it all work, but also giddy with excitement about what the future of our partnership will bring for those that we help!
Melissa is the Child Care Director for TRUEAfrica and runs the Papaya Beads Fundraiser.