Feathers, Freedom + Fear
"Zwazo" is Haitian Creole for bird. Mama Zwazo means Mama Bird. We believe in building a nest where mamas are able to heal, flourish, feel known, use their voice, create, and grow in beautiful ways.
If you've glanced around our site, you already know this. What you probably don't know is that I (Dani) am deathly afraid of birds.
As a kid growing up in Texas, I shuddered every time I saw oak trees covered in grackles, those awful black birds that descend on hot parking lots every summer. Trips to the beach were filled with attempts to dodge seagulls. If I found out friends owned a bird, I no longer wanted to be invited to their sleepovers. Today, I'm constantly dodging the countless stray hens and roosters on our dusty neighborhood street.
I have a small feather tattoo on my wrist. I got it on a furlough from my first living experience in Haiti seven years ago. It's a reminder that freedom comes when we face our fears, and that in Jesus fear doesn't win.
This is the heart behind Mama Z: freedom.
When I first felt the Lord prompting me to start jotting down ideas for a baby line crafted in Haiti, I felt a little crazy. My husband and I already had a ministry focus, and I didn't feel like I had the qualifications to start something new.
Fear told me to give up before I had the chance to fail.
A few weeks later, my son's babysitter, who is like a Haitian mom to my husband and me, informed me that her daughter moved to the Dominican Republic over the weekend to find work. Though well educated, she'd been unable to find work in Haiti, and needed income to send her toddler son to school. Her son happens to be one of my son's best friends. My heart shattered. The weight of motherhood in Haiti hit me square in the face that day.
And so, Mama Zwazo was born in the scribbled notes of a coffee stained notebook. I didn't know what I was doing, or what this idea would become, but I knew this:
mamas deserve the freedom to love their babies away from fear of poverty.
In December 2016, a mutual friend introduced me to Holly.
"You both have wild toddlers, and I think you'll hit it off."
At this point, I'd only told about three people my idea for Mama Zwazo. It still felt silly to talk about. That day at lunch, while our kids ran around like animals, I casually shared my idea with a complete stranger.
Holly's whole face lit up. Within a week, we decided to work together, and miraculously had a large donation to help us get going.
The rest is still being written...
In the last year, we've seen the Lord slowly open doors for our nest to become reality. We know he is in this work of making beautiful, meaningful goods to empower mamas.
We know he is in this work of freedom.
In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing practical ways you can become a part of this work. We so hope you'll join our nest.
Even if it feels a little scary.
Because little by little, hope is being born.
Love + Caribbean Light-
The Mama Zwazo Team