Traveling & Giving: Ribbons and lace

By Florence Drake
This item appears on page 33 of the March 2014 issue.


When planning to travel through Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet for the whole month of January 2012, I knew we’d be going to some very remote villages. I wanted to take something different to the people who have to walk, for example, six hours just to get to a main road.

At the same time, I decided to clean out my sewing and needle-craft stash, which even had items from my mother. There were lengths of lace, ricrac, appliqués, packets of needles, spools of thread, fancy buttons, ribbons — quite an assortment of treasures! I made up three very full plastic bags for the three times we would be in such places.

One place was so far from everything and the ladies were so shy that our guide presented the bag to a group doing their washing in a common yard. He took us about 50 feet away and proceeded to lecture on something of interest, but I peeked to the side a few times and saw that, as the bag was opened and its contents were revealed, more ladies joined the group, then little girls.

Ribbons were matched to hair or clothing, thread and needles were taken quickly, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. What fun that was!

In another village, where the women own everything and are bosses of the families, I gave the bag to the head woman, who I assume shared it with the others after we left.

This was an example of win-win. I got rid of what I no longer used, and the people who could use the items — and, indeed, ENJOYED getting them — got them.


Readfield, ME