Sunday, March 8th is International Women’s Day. I am in awe of the resilience of women despite the many challenges they face. Recently, I was reminded of the same about the artisans we partner with, as my family took a trip to the Yucca Valley. There in the Mohave desert grows the Joshua tree. Much of the population of this endangered plant reside within its namesake, the Joshua Tree National Park. Growing at a leisurely pace of half an inch to three inches per year, their survival depends on the scarce California rains and the pollination by the yucca moth. It is believed that climate change and the disappearance of the Shasta ground sloth that it relied on for dispersal of seeds, will lead to near extinction of these plants in under a century.
Yet, when I saw a Joshua tree in bloom in late February, my heart rejoiced. There it was, in the arid California desert, with its beautiful blossoms proudly ready to take what life has in store and make the best of it.
Much like the Joshua tree, the women hand-loom weavers are facing tough times with low wages and decreased demand. They are patiently waiting for opportunities not just to survive but thrive. Life is hard for them and in this interconnected world, their livelihood most often depends on the whim of others, sometimes on the other side of the world. Still, I have always seen them smiling, taking life one day at a time. Living life with hope, with resilience.
This International Women’s Day.. and always, we salute you, we remember you and we take inspiration from you. My hope for you, in the words of one of my favorite fictional characters is..