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!