Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 7 of 12 Artisans of Christmas: Meet Nella

Nella is one of the artisans from the Pignon group. She has an eye for bold colors.

The following story is part of a 12-day series featuring 12 artisans who are part of The Haitian Bead Project. This growing business helps offer a hand up to women living in rural Haiti. They use recycled cardboard and paper to handcraft beautiful jewelry and products to sell around the world.  

Nella cooks like her mama. Take a bite of Haitian rice and beans and you know Nella has been trained well.

Nella spent years shopping at the market and cooking with her mother, known fondly in her home town of Pignon as Madame Degloir or Sister "Degwa." As they picked through beans and plucked feathers from the chicken, Nella learned her mother's ways, her heart for God.

In 2011, she had one of her legs amputated after a bad infection went awry. But Madame Degloir always persevered. She made the best of all situations. She was always singing in the choir and leading prayer for the women in her church. This was the environment Nella was raised in.

In July 2012, Nella's mother died. She had struggled with high blood pressure and diabetes. The whole community mourned her passing.


Nella desires to continue the strong legacy her mother left behind.  She uses her hands to bless her family and serve God.

Nella leads the children's choir at her church. On Mother's Day, Nella gently guided the children to get in line as they climb into the choir loft at the Evangelical Church of Pignon. She kept time and urged them to smile as they sang songs and poems that honored mothers.

Nella holds her daughter, Perla, outside her church in Pignon. She poses with Perla's American godmother and a volunteer for The Haitian Bead Project, Stacie Benedict.[/caption]

This year Nella also became a mother. Nella's daughter, Karissa Perla, proved she is a fighter too. She was born two months premature. In rural Haiti, that means the odds were stacked against this little one. But Nella was able to get medical care and Perla gained strength week by week.

Nella is busy these days taking care of her daughter and going to professional school. She is happy to be a part of The Haitian Bead Project because it provides some extra income so she can provide for her family. She loves to make short necklaces and earrings in bold colors like turquoise, orange and purple.

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