This post should actually be titled "Move that Ox-Drawn Cart" since our program with the women of Muchochoma Village takes us 3+ hours past a paved road and beyond where most people dare to take their vehicles. We absolutely love our time with these women and our partnership with them. Once a month we travel out to visit these ladies, many of whom have never been to a grocery store, have never stepped foot inside a real school, have never poured water from a faucet, or taken advantage of many other modern-day conveniences. Once a month we spend time building relationships with these women, women not unlike ourselves filled with laughter, joy, the stress of raising a family, and insecurities. We share the skills of sewing with them and they are the sole producers of our popular Village Twist Bracelets (click link to check 'em out). The money we give the women for their beautiful craftsmanship is invested into bettering an entire village. We've shared in the past about those benefits and we continue to see how development really works.
Today we want to share just one more exciting renovation within our Clothed in Hope program. Below you'll find one more "Then" and "Now" photo. Since the beginning, we've met the women of Muchochoma with their babies wrapped on their backs under the shade of a mango tree to escape the summer sun. Unfortunately, the ladies' ability to gather and meet has greatly depended on the weather. Summertime means morning meetings or quick afternoon sessions. And rainy season has usually meant no meetings, for months at a time. The fabrics would be ruined and the conditions too terrible for the women to gather to learn, work, and grow together.
So these women proposed their own solution. They wanted to build their own shelter. You heard me. Twelve women, ranging in ages from 22 to 60+ wanted to put aside their personal duties and businesses to build a shelter. This isn't just putting some putty on bricks. They had to build the bricks- clay bricks by hand. These women wanted to use the skills they know to further benefit their "Chikondi Club," giving a home to HOPE in the Muchochoma Village. We provided a few roofing sheets and it was just completed a few weeks back. Check out the photo for our upgrade from the mango tree shade sitting on stumps, bricks, and old food sacks to this beautiful handmade shelter. Pretty impressive work, ladies! We are so proud of the women of Muchochoma Village, of how they are taking the initiative with our program to see it grow and benefit many in the most beneficial ways, and how they continually inspire us to recognize true joy in life. What a gift to be a part of the lives of these 12 women.