The village of Busoola used to walk almost 2 miles to the swamp to get their water. Water borne illness were very common especially in children. Project Lydia is so proud of the new bore hole (water well) that we were able finance. The well is right across the road from the school we opened this past May and right next to Busoola Church which serves as 2 classrooms and also the schools assembly hall. We had the water tested, and it is just right, and very cold! This well will serve over 350 families and a school with clean, fresh water!
The school that we opened this past May has been growing by leaps and bounds. We now have 325 students attending from pre K to 7th grade. We are having a few growing pains, and are working hard with our good teaching staff.
Benjamin Aaron and Amanda Griffin from Lovin’ Soap Project visited us in Uganda this past July, spending four full days teaching seven new Project Lydia women how to make soap. What a thrill it was to find Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Avocado Oil, Sunflower Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Castor Oil and Moringa Oil all organically grown right in Uganda! The seven ladies were very excited and attentive to everything Benjamin and Amanda taught them and were anxious to get started.
Our first batch of soap wasn’t quite as smooth as we wanted, so after some minor adjustments we came up with a great soap recipe. After the second batch the women needed to decide whether to use turmeric or curry to color the soap and whether to add mint or coffee for added interest. We layered and swirled the soap while it was soft and came up with some wonderful and interesting looking bars.
Be looking for Project Lydia Soap and Hair and Body Oil around November 1st, just in time for your holiday gift shopping! Everything is made from natural ingredients with no artificial colors, preservatives, or added chemicals; and the best thing about this is that another seven women will be earning sustainable incomes.
Here is a picture of Amanda and Benjamin with Deize, Edith, Florence, Sarah, Sauda and Tabisa.
Project Lydia has seen much growth and community impact this past year in the remote areas where we are based. There are now 60 women who are earning sustainable incomes, and more than 200 of their children are attending school. Four of the women have built new houses this year, and many more have improved their housing by adding new roofs. The women have increased their gardening space to grow more food and added goats, cows, and chickens to their small farms. I’m told even their families are healthier because they eat better and can afford medical care.
As the Project Lydia women spend their incomes within their villages, others have started new businesses which is helping the community at large to prosper. As I travel down the dirt road from village to village there are so many shiny new roofs and houses being built as a result of the impact Project Lydia women have made.
This year we have brought clean water to hundreds by digging out, piping, and concreted a natural spring. We built new toilet facilities, brought in electricity to a church and a school that we are rehabbing. As of now about 25% of the school has been rehabbed. See http://www.projectlydia.org/community-impact/
Such a wonderful day for Shameme! She took us on a tour of her almost finished, four room, new house that she is building from what she has earned making handbags for Project Lydia. Her sewing room alone is now as big as her old house was. She provides for six children; four of them are in school. Yeah for Shameme! We are so proud of you!
Several months ago, Lilli’s limp, 13 year old body was brought by her Mother to our mission base. She was barely moving and was in excruciating pain. I gathered several who we around to pray for her, and then took her to the nearby clinic. We were turned away from the clinic because they lacked the supplies to treat her. We then made our way to the nearest hospital. I remember praying that Lilli would survive the 30 minute drive; she was so sick.
After admitting Lilli, and paying the hospital in advance, we walked to a nearby pharmacy to purchase the medicine to treat her. Her mother, Ruth, stayed with her to look after any physical needs. In Uganda, it is the families responsibility to feed, bath, change linens, and have the medicine ready for the doctor.
She improved a little over the next two days, and then on Monday, a call came to the Project Lydia group who meet to work together. Lilli suddenly had gone into a coma, her breathing was very shallow, and the doctors believed she was going to die. I stopped the group to report to them the news that I was just told. Someone immediately said, “We will pray.” Over the next 40 minutes, 48 Project Lydia women prayed out of the depths of their being….like it was their daughter who was at the edge of death. Lilli woke up from the coma shortly after that, and started improving dramatically. Three days later she was released from the hospital!
I will be in Uganda to celebrate Mother’s Day, which is the same day as ours, with Ruth and Lilli, and the rest of the Project Lydia women. They are a wonderful group, who are finding hope and purpose as they care for their children and each other.
Happy Mother’s Day from the Project Lydia Mothers!
I recently visited Akello in her immaculate mud house for the first time. She was excited to have me come and see her new sofa set, and greeted me with soda and biscuits. It is so wonderful to see the Project Lydia women economically rise above their needs and get something beautiful for their home.
Akello is a widow and has 7 children and 6 grandchildren. Her work with Project Lydia gives her hope that she can keep her school aged children and grandchildren in school.
These are the bracelets Akello makes. These double row stretch bracelets are easy and comfortable to wear. They go with everything whether you dress up or go casual. You might find yourself wearing one almost every day!
One of the best things about being a missionary and the time I spend in Africa are Mondays when I get to spend the day with all the Project Lydia women. On Mondays we all gather together in the church, which is the largest space in the village. With new banana leaf baskets on their heads and babies on their backs, the Project Lydia women bring everything they have worked on during the previous six days. For the next seven or so hours they put together the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that so many of you have purchased.
I love the buzz, chatter, and laughter that fills the air. Even though I can’t understand what they are saying, I can imagine that they talk about their lives the past week, their families, gardens, who is sick, who got better, taking time to admire each others work. Sometimes someone starts singing and everyone joins in. Most help to tend with the babies…except when they need to be fed.
This summer we had a mission team from Lawrence, Kansas came to Uganda for two to six weeks. I was thrilled that five of the group were young women who wanted to work with the Project Lydia women. Two of the women, Alex and Miriam, worked with the 12 tailors to teach them some new sewing techniques, designed a new handbag, made the pattern, and put the first prototype together. We now have two new styles of handbags coming, the Zebra Bag and the Giraffe Bag, to add to our popular Elephant bag. I have to say it was fun to watch both of them get use to a treadle sewing machine. Alex stayed for six weeks and took her college internship with Project Lydia. I’m happy to say she got an A.
The other three young women, Cheh, Sarah, and Amanda (who was with us for a month), did whatever was needed. They made jewelry, advised on color combinations, cut paper, tried to roll paper beads..not too successfully, interview women, held babies, played with young children, and even varnished tables. I think they will always remember the Project Lydia women and children. I know the Project Lydia women and children will always remember them.
Now, as I am back in the U.S., I get to be the Project Lydia spokes person and sales person. Your purchases send children to school, improve housing, buys medicine, seeds gardens, and sometimes, something so simple as purchasing a kilo of sugar or kerosene for a lantern….and we put in a water well this year!
The new Water Well (borehole) in Bukenke Village is in! Water is flowing and 350 families will now have clean water. Thank You to many generous people, ATK Church, and to YOU by your Project Lydia purchases. Our next goal is to put a primary school on this same plot of land. Have Project Lydia at your event, home party, or purchase online!