Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Charles (our head EPOH tailor and friend) returned to Jinja a few weeks ago. And since then EPOHbags in Uganda has been coming to life. It's unreal to hold the bags that I for so long thought about and envisioned. It's beautiful to be able to meet the artisans that I have been wondering about and praying for.
Their stories of great sorrow have turned into rejoicing. And when we talked to Charles about EPOH he sometimes covers his face and just says "afoyo afoyo afoyo" (thank you). Agnes (our second official tailor) likes to scratch my back when I speak in Luo or really when I say anything. I've slowly become quite a bit restless here in Jinja...and feel as though I just go through the motions most days...but these small glimpses of heaven (or what I believe to be some sort of heaven) that I have found in these tailors renew and refresh me.
slowly by slowly I'm feeling a little bit fuller.

Joe and I spent some time in town with Kymbi this morning, buying many meters of liner, spools and spools of thread, zippers, and I hit the jackpot at a small stall in central market where a lady pulled out scraps and scraps of some of the most beautiful fabrics (to all future EPOH costumers, please know that the fabrics on your bag are specially hand picked, original, and recycled)!

Tomorrow we are going to have a small photo shoot with our three wonderful tailors.
super excited about that even though our camera isn't nice -- we just get to be more creative this way! During my senior year of high school I was almost certain that I was going to go to Delaware college of art and design to study photography. after a visit to south east asia a few weeks after graduation day I knew for certain that was not what I was going to do. God had different ideas of how He wanted to use my photography. afoyo to the creator of all good things!

get ready, friends, EPOH is coming!

Monday, April 13, 2009

you are most welcome!

Sorry this is delayed but Happy Easter! We spent our day with friends and our little family here in Jinja. Hope your day was as blessed and full of good fellowship as ours was.

Things are busy and I feel like Joe and I are always running around picking something up dropping something off having meetings what what...but on Thursday I could just be. I got to feel like a "volunteer" again and just be here and experience things.

Around 10:00 am we picked up Natalina and took her to FINCA where we opened an account for her.. our first account. We were going to wait for our first ten who had their LC letters and 11,000 to open but a lot of people have one without the other and are slowly by slowly getting things done... but not Natalina she had her money and letter and pictures all ready for us months ago. So I thought it wasn't fair that she had to wait so long... she was ready and excited and while we filled out her application thursday morning I knew that she was going to benefit highly from this.

After everything was signed and Natalina got her pass-book and deposited her first 15,000 shillings she was beeming. we all hugged and congratulated her. We asked natalina why she wanted FINCA and after she giggled a bit she said "I want a safe place to save money so it doesn't get lost in my house."
wonderful. : )

After we dropped Natalina back off at her home in Walukuba we ran back home to grab some lunch and then Marlena and I footed back to Walukuba more specifically to babu hill to visit Claire.
About a week ago Claire was walking home from work at the orphanage and was hit by a car. I knew that I just had to visit her and see how she was doing. I couldn't remember where exactly she lived but I knew that if I went to Gettu's on the hill I would be able to find Claire... I didn't even need to go to Gettu's because the second we arrived on babu hill we saw Agnes and some man waving at us and their was Claire. Smiling from ear to ear as always and insisting that we come in and sit down. She showed us her x-rays and doctor papers and I looked at them concerned but had no idea what they said. Claire kept saying "oh Auntie Melissa, God really loves me". and I was just amazed this women who was just hit by car who lost most of her family in the war up north who was sitting in her small one room home was saying this. That's what I call faith. We chatted for a bit and prayed for Claire's leg and then we were on our way. We footed to Danida (not really sure who we were going to visit) but decided when we got there that Luwum, Christine would be a refreshing stop. When we arrived I didn't see Christine anywhere just her children Smith, Patricia, and Thomas (who was wearing a dress.. of course). Smith (with all his missing teeth) quickly darted off somewhere and arrived back with his mother who was rolling beads for beatrice who was in the hospital... so we offered to help christine roll beads and chat. Christine told us a story about how she met two mzungus in town who were from colorado they asked christine where she got her necklace and told her that it looked like a SUUBI necklace...Christine laughed and said "I'm a suubi lady" the two girls were so excited to be meeting a suubi lady and christine invited them to her house to visit . I'm so proud of our women and so excited that people love them and don't even know them. While we were laughing and rolling a man came in and told christine that Beatrice had returned so off we went to see how she was doing...sweating, tired, and laying on her couch beatrice excitedly said "you are most welcome!" I love these ladies.. they are absolutely inspiring and humbeling and oh how they make me laugh! After learning some more luo and praying for Beatrice we decided to make the walk back to Magwa before it got too late. while we were walking we ran into Stella (Margaret's daughter and Doreen's sister) and I decided that I could use a good Doreen visit. so we branched right pass the bricks and up the small hill before I could even see doreen I heard her and her sisters and friends laughing. They are beautiful and bring me too much joy. Margret invited us into the sitting room and brought us soda's. we sat and watched the little boys run around and the baby pull the cat's ears. When I was finished drinking I went to the doorway and sat with Doreen and her friends -- they were practicing their singing and dancing. It was just what my heart needed something light and sweet. Lucky asked me when they were done to pray for their "choir" so of course I agreed. I thought it was so cute that she wanted her little group to be prayed over and blessed.
I absolutely love just being here. Sitting in small hot houses, rolling beads, and learning new things. just what I needed. Sometimes the busy-ness of the "business" here can become quite overwhelming but I am truly blessed to be able to just be with our ladies some days.

sorry if this post is a little hard to follow and sounds repetetive ...It's 5:12 in the A.M. and every dog on our street is howling at the moon.. but not our dog.. she's fast asleep in Betty's basin under the sink. ohhhh, Ruthie. I should go back to sleep -- Joe and I are off to K'la tomorrow!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This morning was gray again.
I have to be honest and say that lately it has been hard. Our dearest friends here left on Monday. We only got a four day notice (they only got a four day notice). Betty has been in a depressed mood as she has seen many babies die at the children's hospital while she waited there with Kymbi for unnecessary injections (please pray for her spirit..and for peace). I found out yesterday that my pop-pop had passed away. When I hung up the phone with my mother I just sat in the van on main street waiting for Joe with tears running down my cheeks. As I write this the tightness in my throat is coming and I know in a few minutes if I let myself I will cry again. I didn't even know my pop-pop well but I know my family and I just want to be with them. I want to see Cody's freckle face and hug my mom...even more so hug my dad...and it just keeps raining. But then I think of my 5 children in Danida (who come running when they see me-- and I drop to my knees and say "my babies". The lady who stirs a big pot of some amazing Ugandan cuisine always laughs and says "You had all those babies yourself?" and I say "No, I HAVE all these babies myself.. in my heart.") They are my HEART babies. I think of JaJa Nora with her small eyes and big laugh. I think of Carol and her willingness to serve her children in any way possible. I think of the Source of the Nile where Joe and I got married -- where so much more started. I think of charcoal lady at the speed bump with the ever sarcastic smile. Oh, I even think of how our new Saturday translator (Betty) said as she held my hands "we will cry so many tears when you leave us". I think of that thing that came unhinged inside of me a few years ago.
This is only a season.
I constantly tell myself that when things are tough and I just want to hop on the next plane out of here. Or when I have my "once a month freak outs" (as Joe calls them) and they all end in "I miss my mom".
This is only a season.
but is it?
Clouds (and rain) are often used to describe hard times.
In Walking On Water Madelleine L'Engle says:
"Love, not answers. Love that trusts God so implicitly despite the cloud (and is not the cloud a sign of God?)..."

This is only God...and today... this minute...I'm ok with that.
I'm going to hold on to His hands and say "I will cry so many tears if You should ever leave me".
and He will say "come to Me all who are weary and I will give you rest". And here I will be holding His hands and resting at His feet.
Hallelujah to the King of Kings!
once again He is faithful.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm just here/

8 new visitors at the house right now.
7 leave in a week and 1 leaves in three months.
explaining and showing where everything is.
trying to pump out some bags for summer festivals.
working on Flavour of the Month necklace designs and getting proper paper.
wishing Betty wouldn't take kymbi to get so many un-needed injections.
dealing with ridiculous ATM's.
visiting the old men at market who give fair price.
making the 3 hour trek to the airport and back two times this week.
cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning.
praying for our head tailor to return as quickly as possible.
praying for all sorts of things!