As I sit here in my room on the Gulf of Thailand, the scent of sweet jasmine filling the air and the sound of the ocean entering through my sliding door, my thoughts wander to 2 women I met this year.
Suraiya Hassan is a weaver in Hyderabad, India. A gentle, smart and focused woman, she runs ‘Suraiya’s’, a center for weaving and traditional textiles in this city located in southern India. She has been weaving all her life, and has passed her skills and knowledge on to local widows giving them an occupation and an income. She is soft spoken, frank and absolutely lovely, conveying a peaceful awareness of life’s joys and difficulties. Suraiya is a well known community treasure who also runs a school to educate the children of the widows she employs. At 86 years of age, she is vital and graceful; an example of beauty of spirit and creativity.
At the end of September I met Gina Trevier in Carpentras, France. Gina is a force – an energetic woman whose enthusiasm and love for quality food, art and creativity radiate from her like sunlight. I was lucky enough to stay with her at her charming Maison d’Hôte, Maison Trevier, excited to find someone who prepared organic locally grown foods. My stay with her was delightful – fun, warm and homey, as if I had known her for many years and had just returned for a visit.
She was the highlight of my stay in Carpentras, and I can still hear her calling out my name in her melodic, giggly tone: “Andreeeeeeaaa!”. If you find yourself in Provence, stay at her Maison!