Yesterday at 3pm on a hot Friday afternoon in Medellin Colombia, my 2 pattern makers and I were picked up in a passenger van by 2 nuns of the Catholic Church .We were all on our way to their orphanage/ school that rests near the top of a mountain neighbourhood called Santo Domingo. We were being picked up because it simply is not safe for us to go there alone. It is a barrio with a long history of despair and violence.
The ride up the mountain was exhilarating for me if not nerve racking at times. The rough winding roads up to these communities are so steep that I literally thought we would roll back. I congratulated the nun for her navigating skills after we reached our oasis in the sky. This orphanage/ school was founded by a Catholic missionary 140 years ago. I call it an oasis because that is what it reminded me of. It is perched on the mountainside overlooking the stacked rudimentary dwellings that these chiselled, durable people call home. Electronic gates, barbed wire, security turrets and 2 vicious guard dogs protect the children of Santo Domingo, nuns and staff from the threatening elements that sit literally outside the gate. Inside the gate is a beautiful, safe place filled with well-kept buildings and gardens. It is also filled with hope.
For us at Limelight, there is no difference between charity and commerce. We were visiting the orphanage to do fittings and put to test our measurement guides for new Limelight styles that we are launching next season. We were able to get 20 girls of various ages and body types to try on our new garments. The girls loved having visitors from the outside and we made a donation to the orphanage. I also committed on behalf of Soul Dancers to provide dance classes for the girls .This is called win-win.
Soul Dancers has no religious affiliation whatsoever. I rebelled at the Catholic Church at an early age. My mother and uncle spent years in a Catholic orphanage in Quebec, Canada. Both suffered abuse at the hands of some Brothers and Sisters of the church. Most of us are very familiar with such abuses but what gets lost in the whole story is that there are thousands of men and women that dedicate their lives to helping the less fortunate. People of all faiths and religions including the Catholic Church are doing tremendous work to educate, feed, protect and nurture the children of the world .I feel honoured to have met some of these tough yet loving nuns who are making a difference in the lives of so many innocent ones.
They dedicate their lives to help others yet many of us sit in judgement using the stories of abuse inflicted by the twisted minority as our excuse or justification for not helping or even donating a small amount of money to such causes!
The Dreamer – May 2016