Home Grown: Texans share soap-making skills with women of Haiti




Posted on March 5, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 8:16 PM

Since a catastrophic 7.0-magnitude disaster rocked Haiti in 2010, disease and poverty have taken their toll on the people of the Caribbean island.

The quake killed an estimated 316,000; 300,000 more were hurt; and more than a million were left homeless.

Now a North Texas woman is helping Haitian women learn a unique skill — a home-grown hobby washing away despair in the earthquake-ravaged country.

Amanda Griffin spends hours in the kitchen concocting her own soap creations. She measures, pours, dyes and mixes large batches that yield several bars.

“When you make your own soap, you're getting a really natural product, and it usually costs about 20 cents to 40 cents a bar,” she said.

Griffin's hobby began five years ago. Since then, she’s begun teaching classes on soap-making.

Now, she and a partner travel to Haiti to teach classes in parts of the country with no electricity and no running water.

The women come together in large groups, chanting and cheering about learning the new skill.

“It's useful in their everyday lives,” Griffin said. “They can use it for laundry and for bathing, but then also they're planning to start a business with it."

Griffin knows that with each bar comes joy and hope for a fresh outlook on life.

E-mail rwood@wfaa.com