The Hammered Aluminum Cuff that we carry has a special story in my own life. In June, 2016, my husband and I traveled to hot, sticky, Port-au-Prince, Haiti to meet our 6-year-old son for the first time. The restrictions of Haiti's adoption process requires that prospective adoptive parents "bond" with their matched child for a period of 15 consecutive days in-country. We flew from Portland, Oregon, all the way down to Haiti - a trip that due to mis-matched flight legs and airlines who don't want to give us an easy all-day flight, takes about 15-23 hours of travel depending on the time of year!
This trip would forever change us in a million different ways, and now, 9 months later, I can't look at or smell a mango, catch the whiff of soiled diapers and urine, or hear flies buzzing without being instantly transported back to that slick tile floor of the orphanage. While we were there on our 2-week bonding trip, (which was incredible!), we happened to meet another adoptive mama who was spending a quick few days visiting her son. She had on this awesome metal cuff bracelet, that she wore everyday while she was there. I finally asked her where she got it - fully expecting some small trendy boutique nestled in the opposite corner of the States in some sleepy little town that I would never get to. When she told me she purchased it in Haiti at one of the non-profit boutique shops in the area, I was intrigued!
One one of our mornings off while our son was in school, we made our first trip to Papillon Enterprise and The Apparent Project boutique in the area of Delmas. To say I was blown away is an understatement! We perused walls of handmade necklaces with glass beads, clay beads, metal pieces, woven baskets, shelves of pottery pieces, brightly colored coffee and espresso mugs, leather purses, wallets, necklaces, and an entire room full of metal artwork. It was incredible! When we did more research on the company, we found a host of non-profit organizations who all had similar missions and visions - their goal was to provide honest work for Haitian men and women, to help them sustain their families and build their lives in Haiti. The need in Haiti is ridiculous. Through our first few days there, we had fallen in love with our son and the people of his country, and this collection of non-profits and unique products that were so life-giving to these people was something we wanted to stand behind! (This, therefore, is how Bél Lavi came to be 8 months later!)
While I was in the shop, I came across the one thing I had gone looking for - the Hammered Aluminum Cuff! I was thrilled, and immediately purchased one. Since that day, I have worn this cuff daily, with the full intent to wear it every day until my son comes home! Although, after that hallelujah day when all this is over and he finally steps across the threshold of the Portland International Airport onto the famed green carpet, I have a feeling this cuff will be such a built-in extension of my wrist it will probably never come off!
The cuff has personal meaning to me, as well as being the one accessory I have ever owned that has caused so many heads to turn and questions to ask, "Where did you get that?" and, "Can you get me one?" It is simple, understated, and goes with pretty much anything - but most of all, it is incredibly unique. I've never seen anything else like it and let me tell you, I'm a shopper!
At $10 each, these cuffs are a great easy accessory, fantastic gift item, and come with a great story! All our pieces at Bél Lavi have personal stories behind each cut and hammered mark and bead, but this cuff is by far my favorite! Snag a few into your cart and think of the beautiful lives behind your new piece each time you wear it!
~ Laura McGreevey
Owner, Bél Lavi