It is a bit hard to include this as a favorite, if I’m honest. It has brought a lot of heartache this year: cultural challenges, poverty issues, difficult conversations, and challenging friendships. I think it’s really only in stepping back that I can look back and see what good it is.
It is a favorite.
More than that, it’s a part of us; particularly me. For four years now, every week has included deliveries around Mae Sot. We have baked loaf after loaf of bread and rolled out so many tortillas.
It amazes me to think of where my language was when we started this: trying to learn the words for cup and teaspoon; flour and yeast. To now, when the ladies and I chat as we bake and have heart-level conversations about abuse and kids and faith and money. (All while they still correct my grammar. 😉)
It amazes me to think that we started this when Nyein Nyein was pregnant with her first son—who will turn three in December! And that we just met her second-born, a beautiful little girl, the day before we left last week.
We have come so far with these ladies, learning so many skills between all five of us! We have watched Daw Ma Oo face cancer and go into remission! When we started, we had rules about a Flour lady and Flower lady joining us each week, to carry their own responsibility. Now I only go with on Flour lady each week, so that we all pitch in to allow Daw Ma Oo to rest (and still sell her flowers), as she continues to gain back her strength after radiation & chemotherapy.
Together, we’ve been through many childbirths, hospital stays, travels, family crises, and more. All over bowls of bread and newspaper-bundled flowers.
It’s all too good and too messy and too beautiful to not be a favorite!
Here are a few numbers to put to the stories and smiles.
28 September was our last Flour & Flower delivery until 2019, so many in Mae Sot filled their freezers with bread for the next couple months. We used 47 kilos of flour (that’s 103.6 pounds!) to make 65 loaves of bread, roll out 340 tortillas, and make 180 cinnamon rolls.
Our weekly flower deliveries began in 2014, and then we started baking bread—officially creating Flour & Flowers—in July of 2015. In the three years of bread baking, the ladies and I have baked & sold:
2,866 loaves of bread
659 pans of cinnamon rolls
Since we are done for this year, the ladies took home some savings to help them through the next few months, and will get additional savings per our usual schedule, in December. This year they will all get the largest amount of savings yet: 5,000 baht per person, or about $150. For many of the families, that is a monthly salary at, what they would consider, a well-paid job.
So yes, clearly it’s a favorite! It’s amazing to see what God has done.