I know it’s been some time since my last update and I apologize! It has been a busy time with much going on with the ladies quilt project and I’ll try to summarize some of the activities.
A few months back we participated in a trade show sponsored by Worldwide Partners that was held in Gulu. We rented a small tent and set up our quilts for display. It was a long and tiring but fun two days where we generated some sales and even more important we made some nice contacts and gained new friends.
We had lots of people stop by our tent and inquire on what we were doing. Quilting is not common here in Gulu and people were curious. The women received a lot of nice comments concerning their work. People were amazed that they were doing this work by hand with no sewing machines and the ladies were happy to explain the process to anyone who asked. You could see the pride in their faces every time someone admired one of their quilts.
People were showing lots of interest in our quilts and we were able to connect with a couple of shops who wanted to wholesale for us and we gained some special orders. These orders kept us busy for the next couple of months but we were thrilled to get them and the women were happy that people were noticing and wanting their work.
Here’s a sample of some of their work…..
Also, have you visited the “Our Quilts” page . Just click the tab at the top of this blog and it will bring you right to it.
We are meeting in a church building and although we are very grateful to have this available to us it is not the best location for us to do our work. The building has no doors or windows and the women have to sit on the floor, on mats. When it rains or the winds pick up we are scrambling to cover the quilts and take cover ourselves from the rain and dust. In addition, we have the occasional unwelcome guests…chickens, goats, sheep and one day we had to scare off a bull that was getting ready to charge us. On more than one occasion intoxicated men stroll in who think there’s a church service going on and they come in looking for redemption or prayer. Alcohol abuse in the village is a problem.
The church is only available to us once a week. We have some craft shops in Gulu and in Kampala interested in selling our products but because we are only meeting weekly this limits our production. Sometimes a woman will take a project home to work on but then if she doesn’t come to the next meeting we end up with one less project and one group of women with no project to work on. Our biggest need is for a building of our own. A dry and secure place where we could leave our supplies and quilts. A place where the women could come on a regular basis to work quietly. A place where we could initiate other income generating projects.
This is our dream, to have place of our own that will serve as an occupational/business center and will include some space for the children to come and tutor and have access to computers but for now we are grateful for this church offering us their building.
We recently started a Literacy/English Language program for those ladies who are interested and so far that is just about all of them. I have a young man whose a student at Gulu University coming out weekly to give the lessons. When his semester ends next month he’ll probably go out an extra day to teach. The women have been telling me for some time that they want to learn English and if they are to market and sell their quilts outside of Gulu they will need to know some English. We hope to teach them both to speak and write English.
There’s a writing program that I hope to implement once the women have had a few more lessons. I’ll be writing more about that later.
This month we were blessed with some visitors from the States. I just happened to meet Eleanor at a shop in Gulu and we got to talking. She comes from the State of Washington and is in Gulu for a short time working with another non-profit organization. When I told her what I was doing she was very interested and I invited her to come out and visit the ladies and their project. She was very encouraging to the women and since she is a retired school teacher she was able to offer Charles some suggestions to help in his English teaching.
We were also blessed with a visit from a gracious couple from Florida. They came to Uganda to tour and visit different ministries within the country and I was very pleased that my project was on their itinerary. Their visit was also very encouraging to both me and the women and we were so happy they visited.
Thank you so much to our visitors for blessing us with your visit and we hope you return soon!
On a personal note I am doing well and staying healthy and I think I’ve adjusted to life here in Gulu. There’s not too many comforts I miss from the States, except maybe my washing machine. I have to wash my clothes by hand and it seems I can never get them clean enough and washing towels and sheets is the worst. It’s all so time-consuming. It’s a chore I really can do without.
I’ve also been busy working on some changes to my ministry and I hope soon to be announcing those changes and telling you more. I think it is this work that has kept me so busy.
I thank you all for your prayers and support and as always I’m so grateful and thank God for you.