Women of San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Meet Ruth
Ruth, is 49-years-old, and the mother to five children. She has lived in the slums her whole life and in this particular “bordo” since the day she was born. No one that lives there owns the land they live on, so there is always a fear that she will be moved away from where she has spent her entire life.
She is the second oldest child in her family. She has six sisters and one older brother who all live in the bordo near her. Since her mother died in 2018, she is the matriarch of the family and watches over all of her siblings and their families. This includes a sister who is currently in prison, leaving nine children in the bordo.
Ruth is an amazing, quiet woman who is not afraid to work and appreciates this opportunity to supplement the small income brought in by her husband, who works as a shoeshiner.
Sadly, since Co-Vid hit she and her extended family have all been threatened and had to leave the bordo she has lived in all of her life. Her family has been relocated with an extended family member out in the country and thanks to the donations of One Common Thread, she has been able to build a new house and has a little more peace in her life. Sadly, it is far away from many of her siblings.
- Meet Jessica
- Meet Velkis
Velkis is 26-years-old and has two children, one daughter and one son. She is the daughter of Ruth. Her husband works infrequently, but the work she does for OneCommonThread.org provides her the opportunity to buy desperately needed food essentials like powdered milk for her children. Like most women in the bordo, she has no refrigerator and cooks over an open flame. She loves the confidence that sewing has given her, as it has changed her way of living. She is grateful to have it as a way to make much needed income to help support her family.
Update: Since Co-Vid hit there has been less policing in the bordo so Velkis and her families lives were threatened severely by gangs. Since July of 2020 she and her family have fled the bordo and with donations to One Common Thread they have been able to build a new home that houses her family, her sister and her family, and her brother and his family. She has also had the chance to buy her own refrigerator and oven.
- Meet Damaris
Damaris is a single mother and has a 5-year-old daughter. Damaris is one of my very favorite sewers because she is such a hard worker. She was born and raised in the slums of San Pedro Sula Honduras and has never known a life any different until recently. Before the pandemic she had started sewing for us at One Common Thread and soon had some extra money to buy some clothing for work. So she took the opportunity to get free pre-school for her daughter by going to work at a pre-school center. She really loved her job and was so grateful that her daughter was able to go with her and receive some schooling.
Unfortunately after the pandemic hit and all schools closed she found herself unemployed and so she began sewing again full time for us. Within 6 weeks of the pandemic hitting the police stopped going into the slums and her area became very dangerous and many of our ladies were told to abandon their homes and all of their belongings or suffer being killed or the young girls taken. It took time but with funds from One Common Thread we have been able to find permanent housing for all of those ladies and their families. For the first time in her life Damaris left the slum she was raised in and moved about an hour outside of the city into a house built by her brother and brother-in-law. They built one large house that fits 7 adults and 5 children. Her accommodations are small but she is so grateful to have shelter, food and safety for she and her daughter.
- Meet Delia
- Meet Nanci
- Meet Nany
- Meet Isabel
Isabel is 19-years-old and has a 4-year-old son, and now a new baby girl. When she was two-months pregnant, her baby’s father was mistaken for someone else and killed by a gang. She recently “married” and her young family lives at home with her mother. As any teenager she longs for a better life for both she, her son, her new daughter, husband, and mother. This opportunity has given her hope for a brighter future. She is also grateful for the donations to One Common Thread that have given her some support to rely on.
- Meet Claudia Juli
This is Claudia Juli, but most call her Juli. She is sisters with Ruth and Jocelin and he has also lived in the bordo her entire life. She is 32-years-old and has two children. Her husband has a job and she stays home to take care of her youngest, Giovanni, who is 5-years-old. Juli is very smart and plans most activities for the kids in the bordo. She also helps take care of one of her sisters' nine children. She is always busy cleaning and making meals to make sure everyone is cared for. If she can get a ride in the back of someone's pickup, she loves to go to the beach.
Update: Sadly because of the new dangers of gangs because of the lack policing in the bordos, Juli and her family had to flee the bordo. They found a small house to rent in the country and they have been trying to make a better life for themselves. It is harder now that their extended family is not close by and the children's school is no longer available to them. She also was completely flooded out during hurricane's Eta and Iota in November 2020. It has been a very hard year.
- Meet Skarleth
Skarleth is just a part time maker for One Common Thread and one of the main factors we started the little venture. At 13-years-old Skarleth needed work to make $5 for a church trip to Tegucigalpa. Instead of begging for the money she asked me if I knew of a way she could make the $5 needed. I started her with making hexagons for a quilt I was working on personally and she did such a great job and made the hexagons so quickly I had to pay her much more than the desired $5. From there it spiraled to her mothers, aunts, and cousins asking for work.
Skarleth is now almost 16 but already has made such a difference in her community. I expect great things from this girl as she continues in school and sews on the weekends. Skarleth is Juli's daughter.
- Meet Jocelin
Courtney befriended Jocelin at church and is the reason she first started going into the bordo. Jocelin is 35-years-old and has seven children. Her husband works many jobs and has recently started a lawn business by taking out a small business loan for a weed wacker. Her home is about 25’x25’ and is sectioned off with sheets to make the boys' room, the girls' room, the parents' room and a kitchen area. All of their meals are eaten outside, in front of their corrugated tin home. Jocelin has lived in the bordo her entire life. She is a very quiet and loving person and since working with OneCommonThread.org she has a new confidence that allows her to look at you when she speaks. She is also a great inspiration to the other women of the bordo by teaching them new cleaning and organizational skills she has learned at church.
Update: Jocelin family was apart of the 28 people pushed out of the bordo by threats of gang violence. They had threatened to kill her family and steal her daughters. So in the middle of the night they fled for their lives. They have since settled out in the country and have built a house with donations from One Common Thread. Sadly in February 2021 her youngest son, Oliver, drowned in a tragic accident. It has been very difficult for Jocelin but she has found some comfort from the love shown by patrons of One Common Thread through donations.
- Meet Nataly
Nataly only works every so often but I still feel compelled to buy her work because it is so great. However, she always promises me that school comes first! She is the oldest daughter in her family and the daughter of Jocelin. Since she was 7-years-old she has always had a baby on her hip. She is the ultimate mothers helper. At 14-years-old she is still silly and funny but appreciates being able to help her parents with the few quilts she has made. She and my own 14-year-old have birthdays one week apart and were great friends when we lived in Honduras.
- Meet Karol
Karol is 20-years-old and the oldest of her family. She has had a very difficult life. When Karol was just 18 her mother left with a caravan to the states leaving her to take care of her 8 younger siblings. Karols dad had just been released from prison and spent most of his time drunk and very little time working to help support the family. She did a great job for about two years trying to keep the children safe and going to school.
Sadly, when Colton-Vid hit the little structure she had created collapsed. Her siblings were divided among aunts and uncles and life has been uncertain ever since. Karol has spent sometime living with her boyfriends family, on the streets, or with relatives. It is often hard to find Karol. However, she just gave birth in March 2021 to a baby boy and we are hoping this will help her find some permanent living situation. We are surprised when Karol shows up with a gorgeous quilt she has produced. We just never know when we will see her next.
- Meet Cinthia
Cinthia is 19 years old and the next in line of her family after Karol. So much like Karol, Cinthia has been busy helping to support and provide for her younger 7 brothers and sisters. Now with the family all separated and Cynthia in and out of homes it has become quite desperate for her. I worry about her mental well being because life is not easy in the slums of Honduras. She is often in tears when I speak to her and I pray she can find happiness. One Common Thread has become the little bit of consistency she has and I pray she can hold onto that for now.
- Meet Wendy
This is Wendy and she is 33 years old. Wendy has two children, three grandchildren. Her husband is the brother to Ruth, Jocelin, and Juli. She cooks many tortillas all day long to help feed this large extended family. Unfortunately, her husband often finds the stresses of life too much and disappears for a month or two. Currently he is gone, but she has hope he will be coming back. That leaves paying the bills and bringing home any groceries her responsibility. She has the sweetest smile and does what she can to make ends meet. Gratefully her son gets work when he can, to help pay the bills. Work in Honduras is very hard to find for those living in the bordo.
Update: Wendy's family has also had to relocate out of the bordo due to threats of violence. They have all moved to a city that is an 8 hour bus ride from San Pedro Sula. Wendy continues to sew for One Common Thread and rides the bus to turn in her quilts and get more to sew. Her new house is also made by the donations of One Common Thread.
- Meet Madeline
Madeline is 19-years-old and a mother of a 2 year old daughter. Since having to leave her bordo in July 2020 things have been very different for her. She and her family moved 8 hours away from San Pedro Sula and that also means 8 hours away from her baby's father. It has been difficult to take care of her on her own but she is grateful to at least have sewing for One Common Thread. When they left the city I kept thinking it would be just a matter of time before she and her mother, Wendy would stop sewing. However, because there are literally no jobs in Honduras they are grateful to still have the work even if it means taking an 8 hour bus ride every few weeks.
- Meet Dilvia
Dilvia is 27-years old and has two children. She is married to one of Ruth’s sons. You can't help but smile when you see Dilvia. She always points out the blessings in her life and is an optimist. Recently, Dilvia and her family also had to flee the bordo and they built a house with donations from One Common Thread. She now lives out in the country with her husbands two sisters families and her mother. She continues to try and build a better life for all of her family.
- Meet Mercedes
Mercedes is what we here in the states would call a "jack of all trades". I have never seen a woman have so many ways to make money! Before the pandemic hit I would see her pushing her stroller with her youngest son all over town as she sold balleadas to guards and workers all over the city. Then as her son got to be a little older I would see her with him teetering on the center bar of her bike as she rode around town making deliveries.
She doesn't sew very much for One Common Thread (because I'm sure it just is too slow for her) but she does take some time to sew hexagons for quilt kits in the evenings. Mercedes is the mother of 4 boys and keeps one of the cleanest houses I have ever seen in the slums. Total organization and so much love for her children.
- Meet Kendy
Kendy is 24 years old and she has three children who are 4,3, and 1. She and her husband Elmer also take care of 2 of Kendy's brothers and a sister. Her brothers are 12, and 10 and her sister is 8-years-old. Right now Kendy is trying to save enough money to get a new roof on her house. With the tropical weather in San Pedro Sula there is a lot of rain and she would like to get a new roof to stop the leaking. She is so grateful to work for One Common Thread.
- Meet Maribel
Maribel is 33-years-old and the mother of four children. Right now her husband of a common law marriage is not employed. She has always cooked and taken care of her children. She has a 6th grade education and her goal is to be happy with her family. Due to donations of One Common Thread she was able to reroof her house and that has brought her a lot of happiness because is able to keep dry in San Pedro Sula's tropical climate.
- Meet Theresa
Theresa is 27-years-old and a mother to one daughter. She has lived in the bordo her entire life. Theresa only has a 6th grade education. Many women in the slums of Honduras are unable to continue their education after 6th grade because middle school comes with more expenses that many can not meet. She is grateful for the opportunity to work for One Common Thread because she has learned how women have value and can help contribute to the expenses of the home. She loves to cook and take care of her daughter. her goal is to see her daughter grow up and receive an education.
- Meet Zoila
This is Zoila. She has lived in the bordo for 14 years She has a daughter, Yacxiri, and she is 13 years old. Yacxiri was born in the bordo and goes to school there. Here is a message from Zoila,
" I am very grateful to God first because he put in my path to good people like Courtney and her family because thanks to them I can have a job by way of making the quilts helps me a lot for our support to buy what we need in our home. I also thank them for buying my quilts, I sew them with a lot of love with my heart. Every design on the quilts fills me with a lot of enthusiasm to be able to finish and sell them. My hobby is to be sewing for you and free moments I work in my humble little house that I share with my daughter. My dream is one day to be able to have my own humble little house and that my daughter can complete her studies. I only managed to go to sixth grade and I am very grateful for your great blessing. Thank you for being part of the group of enterprising women fighters, that today helps us to survive. I give you infinite thanks for your great support."
- Meet Johanna
- Meet Mariela
Mariela is 22 years-old and has two children and is pregnant with her 3rd. She has a 3rd grade education and fears for any time her children get sick. The best thing that has ever happened to her was having her babies.
- Meet Geidy
Guide is 20 years old and does not have any children. She is married and her husband gets work sometimes but nothing consistent. She says the hardest trial she has ever experienced was losing her child and her father. She says the best thing that has ever happened to her was celebrating her quinceñera when she turned 15!
- Meet Blanca
Blanca is not married and currently works as a housekeeper during the day. She has one son, she is 27 years old and has a 6th grade education. She wants to sew so she can provide more for her son and she says the best and the hardest thing she has ever experienced was having her son!
- Meet Stefany
Stefany has a 9th grade education and she is currently studying to become a stylist! She doe not work but has been helping her sister-in-law sew so she wanted to try it as well. She wants to make money so she can support herself. During this pandemic she lost her grandfather and that has been the hardest thing she has ever experienced.
- Meet Neidy
As a mother of three, Neidy is grateful to have the opportunity to work. She is 36 years old and has been helping her sister sew, so she is excited to make her own creations. She is grateful for her children because they bring her the greatest happiness.
- Meet Alondra Yuri
Alondra is one of our younger Makers, 13, but since she is unable to attend school (due to Co-Vid) she's grateful to have something to do during the day and help with the family expenses. She loves hanging out with her family and hopes to continue her education as soon as she can.
- Meet Corina
Corina is a single mother two children and she is pregnant with her third. She was able to study in school until the 6th grade. She has been helping her new friends sew and she is grateful for this opportunity because she says she has felt very alone. She is so glad to have these new friends and make money to support her family. The hardest thing that she's experienced was losing her mother to diabetes. Since they do not have any money she was unable to receive the care she needed for this disease. She is hoping to provide a better life for her children.
- Meet Rosa
Rosa has been helping her sister-in-law, Isabel, sew for awhile now. She has three children and a 6th grade education. Sadly she lost her home and everything she owns to a terrible fire that burned 10 shacks in the bordo back in October. It has been such a struggle for her this past year because of the fire and the pandemic. She is grateful to sew because she says she likes it a lot and it provides for her children.
- Meet Clivian
Clivian has been sewing with her sister Delia for awhile now.
- Meet Yanori
Yanori pronounced Janori is 24 years old. She has 1 son. She is so grateful to sew quilts because she has no money. The father of her son has a job but he does not always give her money for food so she knows she needs to provide for him herself. Her son is in kindergarten and he is doing school online. She is grateful to have this work so she can help him and stay at home.
- Meet Karla
Karla is from a large family. Her mother has 6 children and is pregnant with her 7th. Karla moved out to live with her cousin Karol who just had a baby. She is 19 years old and does not have any way to support herself so she decided to give sewing a try.