Wow, so much has happened over here since the “Our First Day” post, that I don’t even know if I can cover it all in just a few paragraphs. But here’s my best attempt. Let’s start with the biggest news, perhaps ever: In just a few days, with no extra fees required, and with a ton of blessings, we have officially become a Zambian NGO!! A huge thanks goes to Brian and Elina, who we couldn’t be more grateful for. Here, there’s a Zambian way and a mzungu (outsider) way, so Brian and Elina helped us to go the Zambian way, the quickest and most efficient way. So stop right where you are, and celebrate. This is a huge step for us, one that opens a million doors. Because of our status, YOU can come here to share your passions and talents with the people of the Ng’ombe compound, legally! Since we’re officially recognized locally, we can apply for grants, seek out government funding, have a presence at local markets, and so, so much more. If you’d like to celebrate some more, go on ahead, but there’s more to share.
We are already in our production stages with some incredible CiH-designed accessories! Again, we thought we’d be lucky to have this started up in a month or two, but here we go. Last weekend, the women all wanted “homework” so they had the task of designing a bracelet from fabric and secondhand t-shirt material. Women came back for the next class with beautiful designs, all without Pinterest or Etsy influences to help them out! Such amazing creativity. I’m so proud of our women. Not only are they soaking up business and finance education, encouraging each other in their efforts, producing products, but they are fashion designers. And boy are they proud, too! Talk about empowering. These women don’t just have an opportunity to bring in income to their families, they have a new title to stand proudly in front of, one they’ve earned every bit of. Check out Facebook & Twitter for some of these designs, and hopefully they’ll be available at a store near you and on Etsy in just a few months! Elina designed the knot bracelet, and Tresa designed the twist bracelet, both of which are being produced at this very moment.
We’re not stopping there. Headbands and more are on the way to production next week, but this isn’t just some assembly line. CiH is a community of women, encouraging, loving, teaching, and growing each other through the shared knowledge and skills among our first group. They laugh together. They work out tough techniques together. They create together. The more I’ve been able to just be there, the more I realize the beauty and blessings of community. Jessy, Doreen, Elina, Tresa, Gift, Margaret, and so many others, are living life for each other. As much as CiH is teaching, we (all of us Americans) can all learn so much from these incredible women.
I think that’s where I’ll stop for now. But just know, it’s real, and it’s happening, and I will continue to be so thankful that you’ve chosen to be a part of it all. Wanna come over? Do it. Wanna donate a sewing machine to allow for more learning? Do it. Wanna spread the word so that CiH can spread throughout Lusaka? Do it. We can use all the help you’ll give.
With Chikondi (Love), Amy