Della x UO Interview: Rachael Curtin
Rachael Curtin is the production manager at Della, and we recently spoke to her about how she came to work at Della, her favorite places in Ghana, and her newfound tolerance for spicy food.
Where did you go to school? What was your major?
I went to the University of Notre Dame. I majored in French and minored in European Studies. Naturally I never imagined I would be working at a place like Della, though I never knew anything like Della existed. Now I can safely say we were meant to be.
How did dorm and college life prepare you for living in Ghana?
When deadlines come, it’s like finals week. Sometimes it lasts quite a bit longer than your average end of semester freak out, though we manage it!
How did you become part of the Della team?
I first heard about Della while teaching English on an island east of Madagascar. My roommate heard about the job from a manager who was about to leave Della. Knowing my hobbies and interests, she recommended I apply for the position. I did and haven’t looked back.
What is your favorite Della product?
Definitely the bralette. I love that every square inch of the piece was touched by at least 60 hands. They were a labor of love, from the actual making of the batik cloth and the cutting, pinning, and sewing to the adjusters, buttons and button holes. To wear one is an absolute treat. Although I wear it here with a knee-length high-waisted white skirt, I can’t wait to go back to the US and wear it with some high-waisted jean shorts. Those don’t fly here because in Ghana we do not show thigh!
What’s your favorite place in Ghana?
Ghana is scorching hot, so I love to be near the ocean. There is a beautiful area where Lake Volta meets the sea and you need a boat to go anywhere. On a recent trip, a friend and I had to put his motorcycle in a canoe to get to our hotel called Meet Me There. It was well worth the hassle, with a diving platform off the restaurant into a lagoon, a five dollar a night beach hut and a wild ocean front, free of tourists.
What’s a typical day like for you in Hohoe?
A typical day involves a lot of walking/running/biking around town, various Della-related people coming to me to tell me anything from we lost a screw to there’s a goat in the office, and I brief the women on the day’s expectations after greeting them all and answer any questions they might have about anything.
What’s your favorite Ghanaian dish?
When I came, my diet consisted of mangos, popcorn, random sautéed vegetables and “red red”, which is a mixture of black-eyed peas, cabbage, ground up cassava, palm nut oil and fried plantains. Everything I ate was free of fish and not spicy at all. Now, I go out to restaurants with a plethora of international food choices and end up ordering something Ghanaian off of the menu. I order my salads with sardines now, and my rice with extra spicy sauce. I find that I enjoy the food more and more with time, although I do wish I had a bag of Cheetos and some Greek yogurt right now…
Would you recommend traveling and working abroad?
Certainly. I’ve traveled and worked abroad in three different countries, and each one has shaped me in different ways. They were perfect stepping stones to Ghana, and I only hope there will be another one. I’m generally a pretty easy-going person, and it might be because of that. Ghana has definitely presented a fair share of challenges, but I’ve never felt that I couldn’t tackle them head-on. Maybe it’s because I know climbing to the summit of Piton des Neiges was a lot more difficult?
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