Ambassador Travel Journal: Leah Nagel in Haiti
Did you know that Noonday Ambassadors have the opportunity to travel to meet our Artisan Partners across the globe? A group of our Ambassadors recently returned from a trip to Haiti, where they connected with Artisans, saw the making-of process behind our Haiti-made styles, and had a blast enjoying all that Haiti has to offer. Today on Flourish, Ambassador Leah Nagel shares what this experience was like for her and takes us on a digital journey to Haiti’s beautiful beaches, marketplaces, and workshops.
Traveling to Haiti was not something that was in the stars for me, or at least that was what I told myself. I remember being a 16-year-old returning from a mission trip in Mexico and vowing to never venture anywhere so hot and humid ever again, but I could not be more glad that I did. The country and the people of Haiti were truly incredible, and I wouldn’t trade my trip experience for anything. Overwhelming beauty, sacred sisterhood, and humble confidence–these are the things that I found in Haiti.
The first thing that struck me on our week-long adventure was the beautiful scenery. I don’t know what I expected, but I found myself enjoying the sights of women carrying large baskets of produce on their heads, no handed nonetheless, beautiful, colorful geometric gates, talented artists selling their impressive wares along the road, and some of they prettiest landscapes these eyes have ever enjoyed. Our hotel was on high ground and gifted us with the most beautiful view of the city and mountains. I was not prepared for Haiti’s beauty.
More beautiful still, the sisterhood that I found in Haiti. Women spend so much time wasted in comparison and insecurities. I was refreshed and encouraged by the shared vulnerability and support I saw and felt among the Ambassador and Artisan communities. Every conversation was filled with women calling out good in each other, cheering each other on in our unique purposes and talents, and celebrating our successes. Most us knew not one person before getting on a plane to spend the week together with our Haitian partners, but we left as lifetime friends and sisters, better for the beauty we had found in both our shared stories and inspiring uniqueness.
Photo: Erin Abbott
Another thing that stood out to me throughout the trip was the pride that the Haitians I met had in their home country. I’d been wrongly conditioned to think that there was no pride to be had, but 0ur Haitian friends were so proud to show us Haiti’s mountains and share its delicious food and culture with us. One of the most common responses when asked what our Artisan Partners wanted us to take back to our customers was, “Tell of Haiti’s beauty.” A simple request that I will do my very best to grant, because more need to know about the beauty that is Haiti and the Haitian people.
Not only were they confident in the pride of their country, the Artisans were also aware of the quality and exceptional design of the products they were making. Each and every Artisan I had the pleasure of spending time with had no problem accepting a compliment about they beautiful things they were creating. They know that what they are making is desirable, and their talent is well-used in the care they take to ensure quality in design. Their faces exuded joy at the sight of us wearing their fine work when we came to visit. They were even patient enough to let us try and make a piece with them. Let’s just say we should stick to sales!
Each time our Artisan Partners had a chance to share with us the impact that our partnership has had on their lives and communities, they were overwhelmingly grateful to us for our representation and advocacy. They shared with us from their own mouths the lasting and widespread effect the dignified, sustainable employment is having through the purchases of Noonday’s customers, the work of Noonday’s Ambassadors, and the marketplaces created by Noonday’s Hostesses. Our partnership in Haiti is responsible for work for many, for personal growth and development, for orphan prevention and family preservation, and for hope in many communities throughout the country.
As Ambassadors, we also shared with them the tremendous impact our partnership with them is making on our own lives, and how it helps to provide for our families, too. Without the bravery and perseverance of our Artisan Partners, we would be greatly missing out. It’s certainly true for me. These past 3.5 years with Noonday have been a stretching experience for me personally, but I would not be the same person without it. This company and the Artisans we partner with, along with the beautiful sisterhood we’ve curated and the gathering of women all across America to use our purchasing power for good–it’s changed me for the better.
I know you may have heard of Noonday Collection and thought to yourself, “Can jewelry and accessories really change the world?” I am so happy to report that for the beautiful and talented women and men of Haiti, it absolutely can and is. I had the humble pleasure of experiencing it first hand, and I left believing at an even deeper level that the work I get to do with Noonday matters. Gathering women in homes and sharing snacks and beverages and laughter and stories at a Trunk Show–it matters. Choosing to use your purchasing power for good has more power than you may have imagined, and aren’t we glad we can look so good doing it? So let’s keep gathering and keep sharing our stories, alike and different, and use the influence we’ve been given to make this world flourish.
Want to learn how you can travel with us next year as a Noonday Ambassador? Check out our Ambassador Trips page!