A Mother's Day Request: All our mamas are special. I can't imagine going through life as a single mom without help. Without the help of family, friends and a church community. That is how I raised my two boys. With help. Let me tell you how my friends in Uganda are raising their children.
Today I was taking photos of the ladies in our program as they signed their rugs. The infamous HEAL rugs that are finally ready to sell. Each woman has signed the rugs and numbered them, making them a very unique gift. As I talked to each lady this week about what the rugs mean.....this is what I learned:
Zalja has four children. She cleans Central Market daily and receives 2,500 shillings, which is equivalent to ONE U.S. Dollar. Out of the 60,000 shillings that she makes a month (that's about $25) she has to pay for rent, food, school fees and medical help. That is impossible. She joined our business class and sewing class and has learned a sustainable craft. When she received the money for her 2 rugs that she made, she began the Ugandan chant and kneeled down to give thanks. Through this widow's tears, she told me that she could catch up on rent and buy food. Two rugs. Two rugs brought her more money than her monthly income.
Doreen has four children and told me that these rugs are making a difference between life and death. What do you mean? I asked. As I fought back the tears and listened....Doreen explained that one of her babies died a few years ago because she did not have the medical help needed. She died of malaria and a mouth infection: Doreen probably could have cured the problem for about $25.00. Doreen digs for other gardens and makes about 3000 shillings a day - approximately $70 a month. The rugs will supplement her income and help Doreen's family become sustainable. Her prayer is that there will never be another day that she cannot afford to care for her four children. Doreen said: "a child should not be punished because they are born to poverty. A mother should be able to find work and these rugs give me life. They give my children life literally."
Jennifer is a strong warrior and mama. She has 7 children. Her husband left the family for another woman, which is a common problem here. Jennifer's sister died of AIDS last year and took her two siblings in. So now there are 10 living in an 8x10 hut. Jennifer makes about 50,000 shillings a month (about $20). She recently finished the advanced business class and trains in Farming Gods Way so that she can provide food for all 10 of them. She is now in our advanced sewing class and helps the ladies finish the rugs. She said that these rugs are changing a village. How? I asked...... "because I come here and I see the mamas and the babies. I see the babies so healthy and so happy. I see the mama's faces changing. They are all beautiful and happy and proud. They are so proud to receive money because of work, not because of a hand out. They are so so proud that they used their own hands to make something.....beads and rugs and now other products through sewing. Their faces used to look sad and depressed and they were not pretty. But now they show the light and they are beautiful." WOW. I've been overwhelmed listening to so many stories this week. And that's just three ladies highlighted. We have over 150 ladies in our program! Mother's Day is a day that we could honor them. And it occurred to me that all my friends in America would like to honor their moms as well.
And so Mothers Day is one week away. I would like to invite you to join us in this heart filled journey and honor your mom by giving a gift of love in her honor. Donate to HEAL and we will send an email to your mom from the James Place. We will write a letter of love saying how the donation will help us to continue all our programs and literally change lives.
We are not doing BIG things......just small things with great love that's making HUGE impacts. Won't you please join us? Besides......all your mom really wants is time. So spend some quality time with her while we spend some quality time with the mamas at the James Place, hopefully changing the next generation. Together, we can keep doing this......all because of HIM!
Blessings and love from Jinja!