When we had some spare time, Jordan, a friend, and I stopped in for a visit. We were thrilled and surprised to be greeted by Carol herself. She is a vivacious lady who grew up in Connecticut and started weaving when she was 17. She ended up getting a job with the United Nations that took her to southern Africa where she taught weaving to local ladies so they could have an income. After meeting her Ethiopian husband, they came to Laos and still were with the United Nations. Once here, she opened her own design studio and has been running the business from the same charming house for over twenty years. She has also had the same weavers for that long.
When we entered, we were encouraged to walk through the studio and watch the weavers at work. They all seemed so happy as they talked, wove, listened to the radio, giggled, and created. It was so obvious that it was a good place to work.
Another venture of hers is a shop she set up in Cambodia. She hires women who have lost limbs from random buried bombs left over from the U.S. bombings. These ladies lost their limbs while out doing normal everyday activities like fetching water. Their jobs with Carol insure that they and their families can have an income.
We bought some beautiful scarves and shawls, had a great chat, and left with smiles on our faces. We were thrilled that someone so busy and accomplished would be her own “shop girl.” She has woven quite a life for herself and her family here in Vientiane, and she couldn’t be happier.