On January 11, 2010 (the date is important here), we had a talk with our Haitian producer of papier mache whom we had helped grow their papier mache department from a handful of employees to over 100 in an effort to bring jobs to the impoverished nation. Without going into specifics, we had a major dispute when the owners of the shop crossed a red line for us. We were sad to part ways, especially since the program was such a success and also because we started the program in Haiti even when we could have done the entire process within our own workshop in San Miguel de Allende, which of course, would have been easier. We explained we would exit the shop slowly so as not to disrupt the workers and their lives. The next day, on January 12, 2010, the horrible earthquake of Haiti struck and the workshop was destroyed. Thankfully it was before work hours and no one was hurt while at work. But the nation lost almost a quarter million people, and those affected were in the millions.Read More

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Twenty five years ago (how could it be that long?!), when Jane and I first strolled the streets of San Miguel de Allende, there was a persistent, repetitive clinking sound that could be found on almost every street— a tap tap tapping sound. Later we discovered these were tin smiths making a host of decorative goods: angels, candelabras, Monrovia stars, picture frames, retabalas primarily for the Mexican market. San Miguel de Allende has been a Mecca for tin products for over 400 years, but that craft tradition is disappearing.Read More

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