What does your job entail? What happens on your average day at work?
Yeshi: I’m a stitcher, I make about 10 Merkatos a day with five of them being completely done, including the lining. My days vary, but when I start my day I always begin by preparing along with my assistants. We help one another to get the job done.
Yoseph: I am a selector and I also assist with export/import. My average day varies but it could include selecting cuts of leather for the factory, diverting leather scraps that can be reused elsewhere, and going to customs to deal with exporting issues.
What is your favorite thing about working for Parker Clay?
Yeshi: There are a lot of employees younger than me, in both experience and age, and I love the respect I get from them. That has to be the main thing I like.
Yeshi is loved and respected by everyone at PCE, she’s the mom figure here. All the employees talk to her like they would with their own mothers.
Yoseph: I have been able to be able to not only support myself but my family as well. There are also more opportunities available here. I get to see and learn a lot on the job.
What does working in sustainable fashion mean to you?
Yeshi: The training provides us with better skills and knowledge. The fact that I’m still working at this age is amazing. I began stitching leather about 30 years ago, first stitching shoes, then moved on to jackets, and now bags.
Yoseph: For me it means being able to help my family, and to be able to get married. With the opportunities presented, I am able to support my family's needs and get married to start my own family soon.
What is something you've read or watched recently that you loved?
Yeshi: Since I’m usually tired when I get home, I just watch Kana (a famous TV channel here). I usually watch whatever they have on; right now, I think it's Jamella.
Yoseph: I don’t really read or watch movies. I did start a book called Oromiya but I didn’t finish it. When I have free time, I go home and rest or help my mom around the house.
What is your favorite day of the year? Why?
Yeshi: Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year), it’s the time of year when we make resolutions and begin an exciting new year.
Yoseph: I like all Sundays, but if I had to choose one single date it would be Easter. I like it because it’s faith driven; there’s Good Friday, the fas,t and it’s also a time to be around family.
If you had to leave Ethiopia, what would you miss the most?
Yeshi: I don’t have any interest in leaving! But if I did have to go for whatever reason I would miss my family. I have two kids, one boy, 24, and one girl, 21. My daughter is going to graduate soon with a degree in accounting, and my son is going to school in order to work in the tourism industry.
Yoseph: The way we greet guests… the way we respect and treat our guests would be something I would miss. And of course my family, I have nothing without my family.
Yeshi, what do you like about being a mom?
Yeshi: I love being a mom. The joy of having kids. I usually say that someone is more eager to live once they have children. Some of the difficulties were when I had my nannies quit on me, and trying to balance that with work. It’s a big responsibility balancing between my job, kids and husband. There’s no home without a woman present!
And what was your relationship like with your mom?
Yeshi: Well, my mother actually didn’t raise me. My dad’s aunt did, she didn’t have any children of her own so I went with her one day and just stayed with her. I loved her and was really happy to live with her since I was the only kid there.
Yoseph, tell me about your mom! How many siblings do you have?
Yoseph: I love my mom a lot! We are seven children, I am the fifth. There are five girls and two boys. She is a strong woman and has taught us all to respect everyone we meet.
And how does your mom feel about you working here?
Yoseph: My mom knows about Parker Clay and loves that I work here. The company I worked for before this I would work very hard but gain no recognition or appreciation from them. Ever since I started working here, I have been able to use all the knowledge I have and I feel so appreciated and accepted here.
I also have a few health concerns that have started going away ever since I removed the stress of my old job. My mom loves that I’ve gained my health since I started here. She’s not like other mothers here when I say I want to try something new she is willing to support me in making those changes. Honestly I could talk about my mother non-stop, she’s the reason why I’m here today! She has done a lot and has given up so much to help me.
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