A Give Away! Fount of Mercy scarf!

Ok so the Adult Beginner donates to a non-profit called Fount of Mercy every now and then, not because I’m a particularly good or generous person -I think I skew more toward curmudgeonly if we’re going to put a fine point on it- I donate because my friend Tara works with Fount of Mercy and I adore Tara to bits and then I pick up all the bits and adore them some more, so I like to support her projects whenever I can and plus ok I admit it, I like what Fount of Mercy does (more below on what Fount of Mercy does).
Anyway, got an email recently about this scarf project that Fount of Mercy is doing and I was like, Scarf Yes! and immediately bought three.
One for my sister, one for my friend who came over and modeled for me (isn’t she pretty), and one for you, Gentle Reader.
Check it out- this could be you!


Or this!




Yes, Gentle Reader, you can be the Lucky Winner of a grey chevron scarf, hand batiked in Uganda in lightweight cotton. It even comes with a hand carved horn buckle.
But what is the meaning of this scarf? What is behind it’s scarfy awesomeness? Here is Mrs. Nyanga to answer these important questions:

Adult Beginner Tara, please answer these important questions!
Tara Nyanga Ok!
AB Who makes these scarves?
TN The scarves are made by Fount of Mercy‘s staff of 12 in Jinja, Uganda. They are a team of 12 (sometimes 14 because we overhire when needed) who care collectively for 39 children. 39% of their children are orphans who have been taken into their homes. 61% are biological children. By buying a scarf, you are guaranteeing their jobs, and therefore ensuring their families remain stable and their children can eat healthy food, get medicine when needed, and go to school.
AB Whoa. Tell us more about the making part, who does what and what-all goes into making them.
TN This current season of scarves is designed by me and our previous intern, Yevette. We collaborated on pattern and color ideas, as well as the size of the scarf. The buckle detail was my idea. The scarves are handmade in our 2-room workshop, which is about 250 square feet. Our staff is trained for all positions, but generally either are skilled for one area, or prefer a certain part of the job. Jobs include: washing/prepping fabric, batiking (drawing with melted wax), dyeing fabric (very specialized and detailed job), hemming scarves (with treadle machines bc electricity can be un-reliable), and ironing/packaging scarves. The buckle is carved from cow horn, then polished up. It is contracted outside of our workshop. Our dye baths are heated using charcoal stoves. Here is a link to our facebook page’s slide show, telling more about the scarf-making process:
AB Dude. Treadle sewing machines Dude.
So when I buy a scarf, where does the money go?
TN You will notice that we are selling the scarves through a partner organization called The GO Exchange. This is an organization with a similar vision as ours for orphan-care. The cool thing about them is that they have their entire salary and administrative costs covered by a few generous donors, so 100% of profits from the sales of their products go towards orphan care in Haiti, Uganda, and India. Both Fount of Mercy and The GO Exchange believe in caring for orphans at the community-level. This means we empower communities to care for their orphans by providing jobs, skills training, and other programs in education and health care. You can learn more about them, the work they do, and the other products they sell at their website.
What does it mean for communities to care for orphans? UNICEF estimates that 90% of orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa live with an extended family member or a neighbor….the remaining 10% live in a children’s home or an orphanage. This means that most families in Uganda have taken in “extra” children and are over-burdened. When you combine that with extreme poverty and a soaring unemployment rate, you can see the need families have for consistent income. Our pay rates are almost 5 times the Ugandan minimum wage! And, we have safe working conditions, so you can rest assured you are supporting a responsible organization.
By partnering with The GO Exchange, a larger organization with more capital, we were able to start creating cool products for a western market, thus employing Ugandans….a hope of mine for years. I thought we were still a few years away from this because we are so small and simply do not have the capital to begin something at this scale. When GO approached us to create a product for their fall collection, we were thrilled. GO buys the scarves from us at a wholesale cost, which directly benefits our workers and our programs in Uganda, then they sell them at retail cost, which provides orphan care through their own programs….so, it is like an orphan-care double whammy!!!
AB Wow. Also double whammy lol. Please tell the readers some more about you, your job title and stuff.
TN I am the Vocational Development Director for Fount of Mercy. I have been with Fount since 2007, when I first traveled to Uganda as a volunteer. Since that point, we have created a program in Uganda which teaches small groups of women basic business skills, as well as other vocational trainings such as baking, farming, and sewing skills so that they can create small group or individual businesses of their own and make an income for their families. We also have a group that started a successful village bank. This scarf project is allowing us to take the next step and provide actual jobs in addition to the training and support we have already been providing. We hope to grow this project into a sustainable one that will grow with new designs each season, as well as new products.
My background is in costuming. I lived in New York for 10 years, where I worked as a tailor in the entertainment field. I have worked at the Metropolitan Opera as well as on several movies and television shows….in fact, Adult Beginner wants me to mention that I was the tailor on the first 2 seasons of Gossip Girl!!!! Oh yeah!!! that was a great job….such high-end, couture clothing to work on, and interesting things to make…not to mention all the teeny-bopper drama, on and off the screen!
AB Yes! Gossip Girl 4-evah!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, anything else you would like to add?
TN I guess the only additional things I feel compelled to share about are the numerous challenges we have had to face in this project. Working in a third-world country with sub-par logistics, as well as a culture that is not focused on timeliness, deadlines, or even numbers in general is very difficult. We are also constantly having electricity and water turned off city-wide, and materials coming damaged and/or inconsistent with previous orders. It is very costly to ship from Africa, and we have sick workers almost constantly. When you see this scarf, what lies behind it is countless headaches and sleepless nights, as well as tons of pride and opportunity for our workers! I cannot be more proud of this project and all it means for us…
If you’d like to buy a scarf, or any of GO Exchange’s high-quality products, please use this link (or put “Fount of Mercy” as an affiliate at checkout) and we will receive a small donation from your order. This page also shares a little more about my personal story.
AB Sweet! High-five Tara!

Ok Gentle Reader, that was intense right? It’s not just a scarf, it’s, like, making the world a better place. Bam!
To win the grey chevron scarf, leave a comment on this post. Entertain me. Tell me how you will wear the scarf. Or tell me about your cat. Whatever.
At midnight on Friday October 25th I will round up all the comments, assign each a number, put the numbers in a hat, and make my husband pick one.
I will announce the winner on Monday October 28th.
I will ship anywhere in the world. Planet Earth only. Extraterrestrials, you lose.
And of course you can follow the link above and check out all the different patterns and colors.
Yay scarf!

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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29 Responses to A Give Away! Fount of Mercy scarf!

  1. What a beautiful scarf! And a beautiful story.

    I imagine that I will the scarf on many nights like this. It is 6pm, I am alone in the office. I have too much work to do (or, as winter sometimes has it, the roads are so crappy I want to only as much as I absolutely have to), so it make more sense to sit in my desk late, and work away that extra time I would normally use to go home and have dinner before heading to dance class. The scarf will keep me warm and cozy while I click-click-click on my computer, staring into the darkness beyond my window. It will comfort me as I head down the stairs and start my car up and then drive to the studio, wishing I had written that last paragraph in the report because now I wonder if I might be late. I will change into my dance clothes, but leave the scarf on. I hate the chill of shedding the winter coat for a leo, even if it is my favorite one. It will come off part-way through the barre exercises when I’ve finally feel warm.

    (ok ok … it is above freezing today, and raining, and not snowing, band I know I’m probably being a little melodramatic, but the first snow fall is around the corner, I know it!).

    As for my cat, I know you weren’t necessarily being literal, but still … I’m a stickler for directions. :) I don’t have a cat, but I do have a lovely yard rabbit. Yes, the wild rabbit that live in my yard and I are friends. During the summer months he let me sit by him and tell him woes. And if you Instagram, and find me at the same handle as which I’ve left this comment with, you can see pictures of him. I may or may not have a picture of Yard Rabbit on my dresser right next to the picture of my adorbs little nephew. :)

    Back to work …

  2. Kathy says:

    That’s a gorgeous scarf that I would love to wear year-round — especially to and from ballet class. And, I have one feisty cat. She is currently “boating” (paws fully tucked) on the chair next to mine.

  3. Meagan says:

    That scarf is amazing and I love that it is for such a good cause! I would wear it Everywhere.

  4. MM says:

    Your friend Tara and Fount of Mercy are wonderful. And the scarf is gorgeous. The beauty of this scarf is that I can wear it to work around my neck or draped across my shoulders as a shawl, and then wear it to the dance studio around my up do with the ends trailing to my shoulders. Or covering my hair, again with ends trailing own to shoulders.

    Funny that you mention cats….I found a one month old white kitten in a shrub in front of my house yesterday. ERMAGERD she is adorable!

  5. gwenyth says:

    I would love to have the scarf. But I am not a cat person.. i am actually a dog person. In fact, here is the eulogy I wrote for my dog this past year. xo gwenyth

    Most dogs don’t get a eulogy. But most dogs don’t deserve one. Because no dog was Barnaby.

    Barnaby’s inauspicious beginning came as an intended companion pet for my grandmother about 15 years ago. Already exhibiting the erratic behavior associated with mid-onset Alzheimer’s, my grandmother had reverted to child-like fits of rage at not being attended to by her children the way she wanted. She began wandering the streets and knocking on neighbor’s doors, asking what time it was or where her house was.

    As I understand it, my Aunt Nancy’s friend brought a Shitzhu puppy to her office asking if anyone wanted to buy it. My mother, who already had her hands full with work, thought a pet would calm my grandmother’s constant nervous desire for company and dedicated attention. So hundreds of dollars were spent, and my grandmother received what was sold as a shitzhu puppy with papers.

    We had never had a papered, purebred dog before – our previous dogs were from the pound or given to us. So we needed a name that lived up to a pedigree. Fate had just had it that I had met a nerdy British kid named Barnaby in Thailand the previous summer. Hence the dog received the name Barnaby, because what could be more pedigreed-sounding than the name of nerdy kid from the UK?

    But the papers never came…despite repeated follow-ups. And unfortunately my grandmother in her state had little capacity for the dog. And he pooped and he peed. And if you got up close to his face, it smelled like poop even though we never saw him eat any. It seemed that Barnaby was in fact no purebred at all and that Barnaby’s prospects for ever living up to his illustrious name were grim.

    But like any smart person (Yes. Barnaby was a person.) with no family connections or pedigree, Barnaby learned to leverage his key assets and manage his temperament to climb the ladder of human regard during his lifetime. Barnaby was (objectively) really, really, ridiculously good-looking. If I were a teenage Shitzhu bitch, I would have crushed on Barnaby and told all my friends about how “He is soooo cuuuuuute.” Or that “He is sooooo hot. And I would totally have his babies!”. (awkward)

    Somehow Barnaby tapped into the adolescent Shitzu bitch in my mom, me, pretty much any female, and even my guy friends. You just wanted to scoop him up in your arms and snuggle him and stare at him and be around him. But he played it cool. Unlike most people who get a lot of attention for their looks, he was never annoying or pandering. He never begged. He never licked. He never jumped except for in joy. He never asked for attention…which just got him more attention. He knew exactly how to fan the flames of our insecure and amorous little teenage hearts.

    He was deep. He understood and empathized with other people. He knew what you wanted and didn’t have to be told twice. He could sense if you were happy or unhappy. And if you were sad, he would stare at you with his insanely large eyes and just sit on your lap. He did just that when I finally moved out of my mom’s house. He just walked up to my mom, looked at her, and curled up next to her as she cried, asking for nothing, totally silent. My mother had never had much regard for dogs, including Barnaby, up to that point. But from that day on, Barnaby became her second child.

    She took him everywhere. To the bank, where the female bank tellers would coo over him. On trips to Arizona, where he inspired my cousin Stephanie to procure a sad imitation of the real thing – a droopy-eyed, oversized, lazy Shitzu named Milton (blah). To the airport to pick me up. When I would come home after months of being away, he would instantly recognize me and do his dance of a joy – an epileptic-like series of vertical jumps and spins where he would lose control of his urinary tract and flick squirts of pee off him as a revolved. He was like one of those lawn sprinkler toys that kids run through in the summer. I don’t like being sprayed with pee. But I loved Barnaby’s dance of joy.

    In his lifetime, Barnaby quickly ascended in court life from an unpromising beginning as a bastard child, to page, and then rapidly onto Gentleman of the Bedchamber and Privy Council. He slept in my mom’s bed. He served as her constant companion and sounding board -someone wise and grounded toward whom to direct questions. He was unfailingly there through ups and downs, health and sickness. And she loved him. They were bonded.

    So perhaps it comes as no surprise that he died yesterday, exactly 6 months after she did, in almost the exact same way. At the time my mom died, he was the same as he’d ever been. But he changed last month after he returned to my mom’s home, frantically searched for her, and could not find her. His energy waned. His walk slowed. His left eye drooped. And he seemed to be in a constant haze, not even recognizing me. So he laid down and took his final nap.

    He will be cremated tomorrow, and his ashes will be spread over my mom’s grave. They will go back to sleeping together every night, as it should be.

    Others have tried to follow in his footsteps (Chompee, Milton, Monster). Sad, sad, imitations. I feel sorry for whoever their owners are. Because there will only ever be one Barnaby.

  6. Megan says:

    I do not have a cat, because I am allergic. To make me feel better about this, you should give me that scarf.

  7. OMG I have to stop reading AB at work, gwenyth almost made me cry here.

    Anyway… about the scarf. AB, go grab a coffee or something – I’m talking to Mr. AB here.

    Hello there (says in sexy voice). I heard you’ll be the one picking out numbers for the scarf. That’s very interesting… You know, if my number comes up, I could make you really happy. In a way that will please you like nothing before. Yes, you know what I mean, don’t you?


    Oh hi, AB – you’re back! So, thanks for the give-away, it’s very kind of you. The scarf is GORGEOUS, and I will certainly check the websites your awesome friend pointed out. Might even buy the rest of the collection because, let’s face it, I’ll win this. Aaa it’s just a gut feeling, you know… (winks to Mr. AB).

    And by the way, my husband won’t let me get a dog (he hates cats) because he worries s/he will hate being lonely while we’re at work. So we just have a couple of fish. But I love them anyway. Although I can’t pet them, which sucks.

  8. jennifer says:

    My cat’s name is Linus! And the scarf is beautiful, now I’m jealous of your friend whose hair looks so pretty with the messy loose buns! Mine takes like a billion bobby pins and a hairnet…

  9. Alissa says:

    Mmm, that´s a nice scarf, really… I think I could wear it for my Irish dancing classes; now I have joined a new dance group I feel a bit overdressed wearing dress for practices. And I like it. And the scarf would match my outfit nicely. And, let´s face it, the gym we´re practising in is rather cold ;-)
    (I am only afraid that posting the scarf to my home would cost about the same as the amount of money that went for the good purpose…)

  10. What a wonderful organization!! Thank you so much for sharing about Fount of Mercy. I think I would enjoy wearing the scarf anywhere…it’ll go with most things! When asked where I got it, I have a great story to tell about AB and Fount of Mercy and share the word about them!

  11. AB in MD (aka KA) says:

    Great interview & awareness for FoM! I think Megan should get the scarf.

  12. Teri says:

    First of all, what awesome commenters you have, AB. These are the bestest.
    Fount of Mercy – what a name – just love. So inspiring and so humbling.
    Thank you to Tara for the interview, and thank you to your pretty friend who modeled for us.
    The scarf is so super. I would wear it as a shawl over navy tee and grey jeans. Yep.
    No cat here. Not even a dog! But we have a white squirrel in our yard. It is awesome.

  13. Tiffany Michele says:

    Lovely scarf! Great cause! I kind if want everything from the Fount of Mercy shop!

    I’ve recently started dancing again and, while my body aches and screams at me, it’s been one of the best things to happen to me since my son was born two years ago!
    Thanks for inspiring many adult beginners!

  14. kitteacat says:

    Beautiful! I shall wear my new scarf wrapped around my shoulder in the fashion of a baby Bjorn, so that I may carry my cat Fransisco with me everywhere I go. He’s been begging to see ballet class!

  15. Kelsey says:

    I think I will need this the most in a few weeks for midterms. This scarf would instantly step up any outfit, and is easy to throw on after all nighters (not that I would ever pull one of those…). And sadly since my school only allows us pets which can NOT survive outside of water, and I have not found that particular breed of cat, I am cat-less.

  16. Sharon says:

    umm… I want it. Pretty please? ;-)

    It’s so beautiful. I would wear it with everything now that fall is coming to northern California. I never wear scarves in my hair, but your friend has inspired me to try it out. And you may have inspired some Christmas presents for family members this year.

    My cats might fight me over it; they like to sleep on my scarves. But it’s too pretty to allow near their claws, so I would keep it for myself.

    I love your voice and the stories on your blog, I’ve read the whole thing over the past week after randomly stumbling across it. (I think I was googling to solve the mystery of seams in ballet tights.) I’m an adult beginner too, with just over 2 years of experience now.

  17. Their scarves are gorgeous! I have them on my shopping list for Christmas! :)

  18. Shira says:

    That is a beautiful scarf! As an adult beginner myself, I shall use it to cover up and hide my total ineptitude. At least I can look the part, right?

  19. Katy says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely (scarf, intro and charity, not necessarily in that order).

    Since I can only hear the cries of the small children who are stitching my clothing when I try to go shopping (although not, ironically my own, who I will cynically put to work as soon as his satin stitch is up to standard), it would be a relief to have something to cover the holes and stains with.

  20. Alice says:

    First of, Fount of Mercy sounds pretty awesome. Just the name itself is pretty cool beans. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet yaddy yaddy yah (yes, I do a mean Romeo+Juliet soliloquy but let’s keep that between you and me, alrighty?). So in case you don’t understand/care to understand that Shakespeare mumbo jumbo, Fount of Mercy is a super coolio name BUT the company would be just as great if it didn’t have such an awesome name. The world’s a big place filled with lots of people but at the end of the day, we’re all the same so it’s amazing that people take the time to care about others around the globe so kudos to the FoM team. (That was the world’s longest run-on sentence but we’re just going to roll with it.) The best part is that the FoM is helping out kids! Having been a kid at some point, I love kids. So yeah! Go FoM and everything the company stands for! I could probably go on for a while about how great the company is and how they’re doing what I hope to do with my life in the future and all these other things but I’m probably going to get too emotional and have a mini meltdown sitting at my computer…so I’ll just say two thumbs up for Fount of Mercy and two thumbs up for making the world a better (and prettier!) place!

    Also, two thumbs up to you, AB, for having this awesome giveaway! I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t enter because someone else likely deserves the scarf more than me but gosh darn it, here I am typing away like there’s no tomorrow. That scarf is so dreamy though…I once joked to a friend that my goal in life is to find 100 different ways to wear a scarf so this scarf would definitely fulfill that purpose in life (just saying…). Joking aside though, I would definitely buy a FoM scarf (or two or three or one for everyone I know and maybe all the animals I know as well) but unfortunately, being a student equals having no money. One day though! So until then, I’ll keep lusting over this pretty printed scarf and admiring those nice hairdos that your friend made.

    Now because this message isn’t already long enough, I’ll ramble on some more. Technically, I’m not sure why I’m reading this here blog since I’m neither a real adult (I mean adults don’t consume bags of M&Ms in a single sitting do they?) nor a ballet dancer. Once upon a time, in olden times gone by, I was a cute little ballerina in my little tutu dancing my heart out in Swan Lake but times changed, priorities changed, and I deserved my “calling” (aka a permanent residence in my kitchen and the snack aisle of every grocery store within a 20 mile radius of me). Even though I haven’t danced in years (and years and years), I’m hoping to make a somewhat successful comeback to ballet in the future…hopefully in this lifetime! And don’t tell anyone this but I secretly still dream of being a prima ballerina :) Not the most realistic dream in the world but hey, crazier things happen! So before I essentially tell you my entire life story and reveal my horrible tendencies of overindulging in chocolate (oops), I’ll cut things off here by proposing a little toast. Here’s the ballet and to awesome people (like you AB!) and to people positively changing the world! YEAH!

    P.S. Good luck to everyone entering the giveaway! Mr. AB, if you’re reading this, I will definitely send a pack of M&Ms your way if you “just so happen” to pick my number….heehee. The number 20 is one of my lucky numbers so fingers crossed :D

  21. Michelle says:

    I am actually quite badly in need of a scarf (just moved, and did not pack the right things). Although I am going to buy one anyway, it would be nice to win this one. Thanks for the giveaway, and thanks to Tara for her good work :)

  22. Wendy S says:

    I just want you to resume regular blogging! If my number gets picked, please pick another number…someone else deserves it more than I do. I don’t really rock scarves.

  23. Pingback: It’s about the naptimez | Adult Beginner

  24. Kate says:

    Beautiful scarves and a totally awesome cause! I’m a jazz musician (pianist and singer) and wear scarves of all kinds constantly in the fall/winter/spring (and sometimes summer, seriously) to keep the old vocal chords warm. Great giveaway!

  25. Scarves are kind of my thing, although I’ve been remiss lately because they get caught on important pieces of equipment at work. But I will certainly copy the idea of scarf-ing for ballet class, and also for days when I haven’t showered and my hair looks… less than optimal. Also to make my boring outfits more interesting.

  26. Julie says:

    We don’t have a cat right now since my husband is not fond of them and we don’t have good luck with them (they kind of die on us). After playing with our friend’s cat the other day, my son sweetly asked me if I would get him a cat. It’s probably not going to happen, kid. Maybe someday :)

  27. Jen says:

    Ooooh, so pretty! And your friend Tara sounds super nice :)

    I went to my niece’s 1st birthday, where as you would expect there were a lot of adults and their kids around a year old. So 8 year old Jasmine really stuck out, and she looked so unhappy to have no one to talk to.

    So I asked her what books she likes, and she told me that she loves this book about a girl who takes up swimming, which has inspired her to join her swimming club. And she talked about her sister who’s 2 years older who she inherited the book from. I jokingly ask if her sister has a booooyfriend, but answered me with a really serious face. “No, but she used to. Until she really insisted (big word for an 8 yrar old!?) on playing kiss tag at school. He wasn’t having any of that.”

    I laughed :)

  28. 2ndfloorliving says:

    Such a pretty scarf & a great cause!

    I don’t have any pets, but I have two little girls (3 & 2 months). Scarves are super handy for looking a little more put together when leaving the house, covering baby spit up stains, and can be creatively draped as a nursing cover. And we’re poor with two kids now, so hey, free scarf! Pick me :)

  29. Hannah B says:

    Such a lovely scarf! I’ve never heard of Fount of Mercy, but I love what they’re doing. I don’t have any pets, unless you count my plants (a spider plant named Joey and an aloe plant named Fitzwilliam. He goes by Fitz.)

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