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Cast On, Yarn Spinners!

By Mary-Jane Garnett

We had such an amazing year in 2023 that I am compelled to review some highlights.

In January, we donated 62 breast prosthetics to Grupo Bennu, the local breast cancer support clinic, followed by another 52 in September. While there, Lety told us about a group of Huichol people who come down from the mountains every winter to work in the fields in Nayarit. She asked if there was anything we could donate.

On short notice, we scrambled together some knitting and whatever else we could come up with on her list of needs.

Our biggest project started in 2022 when, through one of our members, we connected with CAM Roberto Solis Quiroga, a school for children with sight/hearing/physical disabilities. Students from preschoolers to those in their early 20s attend. They were teaching the children to knit and crochet and wondered if we’d like to contribute some squares for a yarnbombing event at the school on Helen Keller Day 2022.

Dale Bouayadi and I took some squares to the school, where we were given a tour by the Director’s wife. While it was shut down during COVID-19, the teaching kitchen was broken into and destroyed, with many things either stolen or broken.

The older students are taught cooking and kitchen skills to help them find employment in hotels after graduation. The school only receives government funding for teacher salaries; all other expenses are paid through student fees and occasional donations.

They had no hope of getting this kitchen working again.

We asked for a wish list, and Dale went to work with her generous donor contacts. It took 8 months, but a stove, a new gas line, new windows, a fridge, dishes, cutlery, kitchen utensils, pots, pans, etc., were donated. In April, it was done.

Dale and the school administration organized a pizza party, and a grand opening was held. Her amazing energy and perseverance are to be commended for getting this challenging project to its very, very successful conclusion.

Also, in late April, Dale and I went to Delia’s birthday breakfast at Barra del Mar. She is the boss at Grupo Bennu. Through that party, we met Lidya, a breast cancer survivor who suggested making hats, blankets, shawls, and scarves for the women who travel to Guadalajara for cancer treatment.

It’s a cold trip on the bus, the treatment is a cold experience, Guadalajara is cold in the winter, and some women live in the hills much cooler than the coast.

Needles and hooks and yarn were soon flying. Many items have been donated, and this will be an ongoing project.

International Knit in Public Day 2023 was held on June 10th. Dale arranged for us to meet near the Cultural Centre on Isla Cuale where a local artist generously let us use his chairs.

Dale had put together a basket of goodies as a door prize. Attendance was low in our first year, so we donated it to Rosa, who has a little booth by the swinging bridge to the Isla. Dale had seen her busily crocheting several times.

She was delighted to receive some yarn along with other things. It was a hot day, but we still walked to the Malecon for a photo on the rocking horses.

For Helen Keller Day in late June, the CAM school organized a big yarnbombing event at the gazebo across from the Malecon. We had lots of notice this year, so many squares were knit and crocheted.

Wanda alone crocheted 143! It was a great event, with the gazebo hung with colorful ‘Grafitti Tejido’ garlands.

Students, their families, and teachers attended. Speeches were made, music was played, and we walked blindfolded and watched some children use the braille typing machines.

Throughout the year, Dale has kept very busy making trips to the Regional Hospital to donate our knitted/crocheted items, dropped more yarn goodies off with Pam Thompson Webb at Hospital Joya, plus taken things on trips around Jalisco to randomly donate.

She always finds someone or someplace in need of some yarn goods. On one of her visits to the Regional Hospital, she was told about a new project they were working on. It’s called the Mariposa Project for Angel Babies and their families.

They decorated a special room just for the Moms to spend time with their babies before going home.

They were making memory boxes for each family and asked if we could knit tiny hats and booties to go in each one. Of course, we could!

All in all, it has been an incredible year. Who knew our little group would become involved with so many different projects?

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has contributed in one way or another to the over 600 items donated. Participation in these efforts, as always, is voluntary. We happily welcome members who come for the socialization and a bit of yarn bending.

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