Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the Untold Story

the  Untold  Story
I never knew I was living in the house of a woman I would respect and
admire so much. Wow! Check out Betty Tibaleka
I never knew about The Untold Story TV program because i never watched TV in Uganda living in Bundibugyo all these years. Wow! i have missed out on a great program!

It was a sweet moment when I watched Aboki Michael the Roofer admire from several differnt angles on the ground, the straightlines of the roof trusses he'd built in about four days.  It is truely an impressive sight. He used only a hand saw, a tape measure, a roll of string, hammer and nails and of course 2x4's and 2x6es. Aboki is the husband of one wife and they have one daughter who is about 4 yrs old and I am fairly sure that Michael knows and loves Jesus.

Remember that moma goat...she posed for a quick photo with her kids in the morning light.

Lawyer Musana keeps giving me mixed messages about the Judge in Fort Portal regarding the guardianship hearing for Kym and Lydia. First I was told that the Judge wouldn't be in Fort Portal until November. When I asked about an update on the situation Lawyer Musana said the Judge would in fact be here sooner than November. He then assured me he would get an appointment with him for us during the first week in Oct. When I rang him again he said, "Well he is very difficult to see these days." But again he assured me we would see him in the next month or so but honestly, i'm discouraged that the story keeps changing.  "TIA" This is Africa, as Scott reminded me this week regarding the rebuilding of my house. So we wait. God is in control not the Judge or Lawyer Musana. Please Pray!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

thoughts from last week...

On Wednesday i drove down the lane going to town. I was leaving the lovely house that has been given to me to stay in rent free, I noted an handsome brown and white goat with horns. I always notice nice looking goats! The next day when i drove down the lane that same goat had Three Kids, all white with black spots jumping and nuzzling thier mother's udder. 
 On Saturday i shared thoughts about God from my Bible reading of Solomon building the Temple of God from I Kings 7&8 
with the men who worked tearing down plaster on the burnt house for the last two weeks. It was a poinient moment when I used a nickname they keep calling one of the guys, "My Dear", when i told all of them that that is the exactly what God thinks of YOU when he looks at each of you! 
That same day I met with the Women's Bible Study at the Busoro New Life Church, my neighbors. I showed them the beautiful things I had bought from Amani ya Juu in Nairobi. Afterwards I talked to them about the perfect things that were created to go in God's temple by Solomon. "There was nothing shabby that went in to the temple. This is an example for us as we consider creating beautiful textile art, nothing shabby but everything must meet a high standard of quality for God's glory."  Joyce the Country director at Amani ya Juu told me she saw many tears shed in the quality control room when items were examied. 

I like these women. We were few but we had a good time together. They were amazed by the beautiful quilt, Advent Wreath and other items i brought to show them. I asked them to begin praying and asking God to show us what local materials from the Batoro culture we can use to create art to sell. 

What does an African woman think when her husband of about 8-10 years does not come home several nights per week or does she try not to think at all? In the same line of thinking the grief of my friend whose niece (also my friend), whose husband stayed away at his family home for a month, upon returning told her he had taken a second wife because she could not produce a child for him. Grief and saddness floods our hearts.

I read in a book called "Emma's War", a quote from Emma's Sudanese father-in-law, "African men will always use their culture to take a second wife." I suppose God has a tender heart for men and women when we use our own selfish desires to choose what we want rather than follow the narrow way of sacrifice for someone we love. I am grateful that God has mercy on me when I follow my own selfish desires instead of making choices that bring glory to him.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Amani means Peace

Amani means Peace
It's been a long while since I've posted due to my departure from the USA, much travel and settling back in to Fort Portal, Uganda.
I am excited about is my visit with Joyce Muraya in Nairobi, Kenya at "Amani ya Juu". Joyce is the country Director for Amani and we had a short but very meaningful visit in late Aug. I wanted to learn about how Amani got started, how the operation runs and how they maintain such a high quality of standards for the gifts and crafts they create. I was amazed by the beautiful work they do! I bought a lovely bed quilt made mostly of blues, pictured here.  I purchased an beautiful Advent Wreath with coconut shell buttons, a ruffled Kitchen Apron, two wall hangings one in pinks and reds another with a woman dancing both quilted, Christmas ornaments for my girls. 

The women who are training and working at Amani are both refugees and vulnerable women. They learn fabric Batik, Block Printing on fabric, quilting, bead work and so much more. The women also study the scriptures and some have been involved with Amani since it's beginning.

 Their experts Artisans are the primary trainers/mentors who in-turn train other women, all who are enrolled earn a commensurate sponsorship wage in the program. Each and every item is cost assessed to determine the time materials and expertise needed to create a particular item. When an individuals skill level is assessed at the highest quality then they become trainers of other women. The women are also free to buy their own materials and produce and sell outside Amani but when using Amani materials gifts are sold and the artisan earns a % sponsorship wage. The items are then sold in the Amani shop, online or shipped to the new Washington DC store. Amani functions according to many different systems that have been developed over the years. 
I learned from Joyce what happens behind the scenes and how the operation works. Amani does not function as a Technical School or a Business that employs laborers but functions as a Training Institute with a business arm. Amani as an organization is a strong proponent of networks of church, family and community, not an entitiy on which to become dependant. 

One of my challenges will be to find out how the Women of the Proverbs project will function: as a charitable, Non-government Organization, or a Foundation Trust in Uganda or exactly what type of organization will best describe our function in the community. This may not be an issue as World Harvest Mission is already an Non-government Organization.  

I particulairly like a principle Joyce and I discussed that has an African proverb to emphasize it's importance. 
Hakuna  Chabure!    Nothing is for free! 

P.S. I've settled in to a lovely home in Bugunda a small village outside of Fort Portal and not far from my village of Busoro. By God's grace and generous individual financial supporters plus generous gifts from Redeemer Church WS-NC, Grace Community Church in Kernersville NC, and Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville VA, rebuilding has begun on the fire damaged house in Fort Portal. With the help of a friend who hopes to be paid in Iron Roofing Sheets I've started work on the burned house. There are 11 guys, 1 Carpenter for the roof, and 2 masons all working for these two weeks to remove the cement plaster from the brick walls, repair damaged walls, clear the rubble from inside the remaining exterior walls and raise the roofing structure. The house is huge by the way! This is no small task and i am grateful for the crew of guys God has brought to work on the house!