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When my husband, Reid, and I first arrived in Cambodia six years ago, it was late afternoon. We came to bring home our little nine month old daughter, Nina. We arrived late and were told we would not be able to meet her until the following morning, so we made our way to our hotel. As we walked into the lobby, my eyes were immediately drawn to a display of cards. The cards were embroidered scenes of Cambodia stitched in wild and wonderful colors with images that were simple, na├»ve, and so beautiful. There were also embroidered cards of flowers that seemed to give off beautiful fragrances, and cards of embroidered butterflies, so life-like that they looked as though they would fly right off the page. But the cards that haunted me the most were those depicting village life in Cambodia. I soon discovered that these cards were made under the tutelage of an organization called Tabitha, whose mission it is to teach land mine victims new skills. These bright and joyous scenes were embroidered by people whose lives and bodies had been torn apart by the “left-overs” of war. Tabitha’s goal is to help these people regain their earning power and their self-esteem. There is so much more to say about these people and about Tabitha, but I much prefer to let the images speak for themselves. When we returned home, I framed a series of these cards and hung them in Nina’s room. They are there to teach her about the land of her birth and about hope. You can visit Tabitha’s website to learn more about its mission and to see many more examples of the beautiful crafts that their trainees make. When you're on their site, follow the link for Tabitha Foundation of Canada.

I often look at my threaded needle and think – what a great tool this can be!

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©Orna Willis
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