Why We Go: Ambassador Tesney Davis in Guatemala
One of our favorite things is witnessing the connections that form between women from different parts of the world when they realize that no matter where they’re from, they aren’t so different after all. This summer we took two Ambassador trips to Guatemala and one to Rwanda to find those moments of connection. Earlier this week, Ambassador Kelli Magee shared about how she overcame her fears and had the experience of a lifetime in Rwanda. We also introduced you to Ambassador Lisa Foster who journeyed to Guatemala. Today we’re talking to Tesney Davis, a Noonday Collection Ambassador from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who had the chance to travel to Guatemala in June. We asked her to share some of her experiences and how this trip has changed the way she thinks about her Noonday business.
So Tesney, how did you first hear about Noonday Collection and what inspired you to become an Ambassador?
I first heard about Noonday Collection after I started searching online for the original Cozy Zip Wrap. I saw it on someone at an adoption conference and wanted one of my own! I started reading about Noonday’s story and knew I had to become a part of it.
I am a big advocate for family preservation, which is one of Noonday’s primary goals. So I guess you could say my adopted son’s biological mom inspired me to become an Ambassador. Our son, Kirill, was born in Russia and he has Down syndrome. There are no resources for families who have children with Down syndrome there.
When I started researching Noonday and found out that Noonday’s Artisan partners earn enough to not only feed their children, but also enough to provide them with education, medical care, and other opportunities, that really resonated with me. I know that if Kirill’s biological mom had an employer like one of Noonday’s Artisan partners, she would not have had to place him for adoption just because of his disabilities.
That’s powerful—thanks for sharing. You had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala this summer to visit Noonday’s Artisan partner groups. What was that experience like?
Visiting the Noonday Artisans in Guatemala really solidified my love for this company and has inspired me to continue to platform on behalf of our Artisans. I think there’s a tendency to feel sorry for people who have faced the challenge of poverty. I’ve never felt comfortable with that mentality because it places one person in a more powerful position than the other. With Noonday, our Artisan partners are empowered. They are strong, brilliant, and independent.
As we visited with each other, the Artisans kept using the word “team” over and over. I think it’s important to understand that Noonday really partners with these Artisan groups on a long-term basis and we have a mutually beneficial relationship with them. I am earning an income to help my family and so are the Artisans. We got to share with each other how dignified work is changing all of our lives for the better.
Sounds like you made some great connections there! What was the best part of your trip?
Goodness, that’s hard to say!
Guatemala is a beautiful country with a rich culture. I really enjoyed learning about the traditional weaving and beading processes that are passed down from generation to generation. But the best part of my trip was definitely when I connected with the Artisans and got to hear first-hand how Noonday’s orders were changing their lives.
On the trip, you connected with an artisan named Dolores. What made this so special?
Dolores has seven children and one of her daughters has intensive special needs. As I was showing her pictures of my children, she shared with me about her daughter. She told me that before she began to work with Noonday’s artisan partners, she was widowed and could not care for her daughter while working. She met the leader of the beading group that Noonday works with and was given a job. This allows her to be at home with her daughter while working as a beader.
Dolores shared with me that her children are able to attend school and she can care for them as a single mother now. I shared with Dolores that because of her work, I am also able to provide for my son with special needs. I use the income I earn with Noonday to pay for Kirill’s therapies and equipment that insurance does not cover. We also shared that sometimes it is hard to work and have a child with special needs, but that when we feel sorry for ourselves, we will think of each other and keep working hard for our children!
It’s amazing how similar our Ambassadors and Artisan partners can be, even across continents. How has this connection changed you since coming home?
After the trip, I started sharing Dolores’ story at my Trunk Shows. Everyone loves the Galaxy Wrap and La Noche bracelets that she makes. I wanted Dolores to know how much her work was appreciated, so I sent a message to her via our second Ambassador group that travelled to Guatemala in August. I also shared some encouragement with her and told her how much I cared about her.
Dolores and Lucia shared with our Ambassadors that when they got home after our meeting in June, Dolores gathered her seven children. She told them about our visit and how encouraged she was that there were Ambassadors with children with special needs and how we promised her more work. She said she felt like we really meant it because we truly understood the struggles of caring for a child with special needs, and that gave her hope. My heart was overflowing when I heard that. I carry Dolores in my heart every single day.
It sounds like your time in Guatemala really motivated you! We’d love to know: what’s your favorite piece from Guatemala and how do you style it?
My favorite piece from Guatemala is the Galaxy Wrap Bracelet. It’s so versatile—it goes with everything from a formal dress to jeans and a t-shirt. My favorite way to style it is with the Clustered Bracelet in Blue and the Silver Lining Bracelets in Smoky Quartz and Blue Onyx. When I wear it with my favorite pair of boyfriend jeans and layer a metallic threaded sweatshirt over a plaid button down, the look is casual but polished. It’s the perfect outfit for busy moms!
Thanks to Tesney for sharing her heart and her experiences in Guatemala with us! If you want to take a trip to visit some of our talented Artisan partners, consider becoming a Noonday Ambassador and creating a marketplace in your community!