This week has already been so full of emotion that I can’t even begin to describe all that’s happening here: the good, the difficult, the interesting. I do, however, want to take one minute to celebrate with you all. To name one emotion: joy. Joy. Delight.
A vision and a plan that became reality. Because of each one of you who donated to make it happen.
Yesterday I was handed the keys of the NOW Chikondi Community Center. I had to take a few minutes to just breathe in the beauty of the moment, all that it took to get there, and celebrating all that building will mean to the Ng’ombe compound.
Today I walked the same path to the center that I’ve walked dozens of times now throughout the craziness that is purchasing land in a third-world country. But this time was different. The little kids that giggled as we walked by weren’t just cute faces. They were neighbors, the future of this community, the stories that will never end. The plywood grocery stands lining the rain-eroded dirt path weren’t just other forms of retail. They were the livelihood for many families, most all run by women struggling to provide more for their children than they’ve ever been used to. The stands were financial hope, conversation stops for friends, and meeting places for new friends. The chickens’ squawking in the back of a pickup truck weren’t just noisy animals. They were lucky neighbors’ next meal, perhaps the celebration of a successful harvest in the middle of this rainy season. Maybe even a harvest of the maize planted and sprouting out in every free inch of the compound. It all looks the same, yet everything has changed for us.
I arrived at the new place, vacant, yet still painted with the previous name. Though as Elina and I walked through the facility we knew it was different. Just like in Hook, our imaginations went wild as we cheered over the locations of our instructional chalkboard in the main room, cutting tables lining the walls. Our eyes opened wide at the beautiful mural we imagined on the wall, adorned with the names of donors who brought us to this point and have invested in a community with much more impact than they probably realize. We rejoiced over new friends we’d make in that main training room, women so eager to learn the skill of sewing and to grasp the hope that 11 women have already experienced through our program, focused on the tricky, but so worth it, task that is development.
So celebrate with us tonight! Imagine the keys jingling in our hands, us cheering throughout the dirt-floor, concrete-wall empty rooms of the Chikondi Community Center. We’re thankful that you’re right here with us.