My Trip To Panama With 4Love Clothing
I've always craved adventure. So its no surprise when Lindsey Parry invited me to Panama, I said, of course! However, it wasn’t just the once and a lifetime experience to Panama that sold me, it was Lindsey’s cause. Lindsey is the owner of 4LoveClothing and Sowing Seeds of Love whose missions are to empower indigenous women and children through education, creative arts and reading programs. Quite unexpectedly the trip was live changing in ways I could never imagined. The trip made me realize how lucky I truly am. However, the newfound appreciation of all the graces in my life wasn’t the end of all the amazingness of this trip; I gained a wonderful friend. I have never seen someone love and give as much Lindsey does. It was truly inspiring. So enough rambling about how much I transformed, here's a look inside my trip to Panama and the extraordinary Lindsey Parry.
It was a sunny day in August to my surprise a cool 70 degrees-in Panama. August is considered the rainy season there. Lindsey Parry was walking from her apartment in Boquete, Panama to the 4Love House, which serves as both a place of employment for four indigenous women and an after school program for local children. As Lindsey approached the house she began to explain why laundry was hanging outside the 4Love House. “Juana and her family are currently living in one of the rooms of the house. Juana’s landlord evicted her family last month. Juana was going to have to stop working with me because they were going to move out of the area. So this is a temporary solution, but the only answer at the moment. Juana and her family take care of the house in exchange for rent.” Juana’s income was so crucial to her family’s survival that this was the only way to keep her employed.
In addition to starting her non-profit Lindsey Parry started a local co-op employing women like Juana to make dresses for her clothing line 4LoveClothing. She sells the dresses in boutiques and online. While at the 4LoveHouse, Lindsey translated for one of the workers, Jilma, who sews the dresses. “Before I worked for Lindsey I would have to wake up at 4 in the morning and pick coffee beans for many hours and then drag a 50 pound coffee bags up the mountain for only a dollar a day.” Employment for these women is a critical source of security for their families. Behind Jilma sat her niece, Maiylene, whose mother got very sick and was unable to take care for her. Maiylene would have to have gone to the orphanage if her Aunt was not employed by 4LoveClothing. Jilma’s work at 4LoveClothing gives her the income to provide Maiylene with a home.
Twenty-nine years old from a middle class family in Florida, Lindsey had a flourishing career at a publishing company where she would put on lavish events. Even though she had a high- profile job, she knew she was destined for much more. “Once all the pieces were in place, I sold everything to start my non-profit, Sowing Seeds of Love… My life was great but I never felt fulfilled.” Lindsey moved to Panama where her non-profit Sowing Seeds of Love blossomed. In addition to providing a place for indigenous kids to get homework help, she has also partnered with a local orphanage to help provide basic needs.
As Lindsey and I approached the orphanage the kid’s faces were full of sheer joy and excitement to see her come through the gate. As we toured the housing section of the orphanage Lindsey showed me one of the large dormitory rooms lined on both sides with bunk beds which Lindsey’s non-profit provided. Before Lindsey got there 3 the children would sleep in one twin bed. In the middle of the orphanage stood a huge playground structure, which was Lindsey’s Christmas gift to the children. Previously they did not have any playground equipment.
Grateful is the only word that comes to mind when you think of Lindsey Parry. Grateful there are people in the world like her that is willing to make great sacrifices to make big impacts in other’s lives. I wish I could convey the happiness expressed so often from the children in the orphanage or the women dressmakers. They have so little in the way of modern conveniences and what most of the world would consider essential necessities, yet they are not only content but also truly happy.