Como estas? Mellinda and I are having a fabulous and very productive time in Nicaragua. This is such an amazing country.
After a hectic week of city living, we are now in absolute paradise at a small surf camp, just north of Chinandega by Playa de Asseradors. The place, the people and the environment ooze with inspiration; this is the perfect environment to get our creative juices flowing for PurpleDirt. We are meeting with the women's co-op later this week, and are looking forward to spending the remainder of our time co-collaborating with them in our version of utopia.
The past week, although a different pace, has been full of adventure in the "big" city. When we first arrived in Granada, we spent time reconnecting with some of the artisans that PurpleDirt has been working with since inception. It was great to catch up with them face-to-face and to see their new designs. We also found a new addition to the family: Pedro Concepcion Onzca (in the photo above) – a talented metal and chain worker originally from Ticuattepe Village, a very small community between Managua and Masaya.
We split our time between Granada, a city of just over 100,000 people, rich of colonial heritage, and Masaya, a town of 146,000 people known as "The Cradle of Nicaraguan Folklore" and for being the heart of Nicaraguan handicrafts. They are about 30 minutes apart and it is pretty easy to commute back and forth between the two with the Nicaraguan public transit bus system. It costs between 9 and 12 Nicaraguan córdobas each way, which converts to just under 50 cents Canadian.
Sabrina, a friend of mine who has been living in southern Nicaragua for some time running her own fashion line, was able to put us in contact with artisans and suppliers in Masaya. One of her most resourceful (and adorable) contacts is an older Nicaraguan woman named Connie. She lives in a humble home in Masaya and seems to know EVERYONE! Everyday we posed new questions for Connie and, without fail, she was able to find us the materials, tradesmen, artisans or other information we required.
Similar to Connie, kindness and generosity is prevalent in almost everyone we met in Masaya and surrounding regions. From Chico, our metal smith, who took a ring off of his finger that I said I liked and resized it for my own finger, to a leather craftsman who literally gave Mellinda the t-shirt off his back when she fell in love with it, refusing to take our money. Then there was the woman who saw that I was hungry and gave me one of her bananas. There has been an amazing the volume of "regalos," or gifts, that we have received during our travels and will always cherish.
This kindness and generosity flows into the PurpleDirt community – I would not be able to make this happen without everyone’s support. Thank you for all your pledges and for sharing my story and endeavour with your friends and family. Only 10 more days left in our Indiegogo campaign, so please keep the support coming!