These are the photos Rosemary has sent to me from her recent trip to Amani Ya Juu. I will do my best to narrate with the notes she sent to me with the photos. At the bottom is (edited version) the letter she wrote and sent out to those who helped with the Amani Ya Juu project.
This is Rosemary at the Minneapolis Airport. She was" loaded with 3 machines and lots of goodies."
"This is an Amani wall hanging, made from hand dyed and batiked fabric with the symbol of higher peace and it is available on the web."
"This is a photo at the center getting ready to bind quilts."
"These are quilts displayed in the shop not making over 25 designs!"
"A hand batiked baby quilt."
"Monica using the NEW Notling fun quilter on a hand dyed and batiked strip quilt. The busy little machine that could! You made it possible!"
"Africa in fabric."
"Mel, an American missionary who helps them at the center with quilting."
"The basic area where they sew."
"Grace and I in Rwanda."
"Teaching the new sewing machine I took to Rwanda."
"The fabric market in Rwanda!!!"
"Teaching the new sewing machine in Burundi."
"The finished market bag -Joselina and I."
"The Unity or Peace quilt we developed for Rwanda."
This is an edited version of Rosemary's letter. If you would like to contact Rosemary directly you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
July 16, 2010
Dear friends and family,
I want to express my thanks for the prayers and thoughts that came my way as I was away. Traveling alone was a new experience for me and a bit challenging for this social being. But it gave me a lot of time to think, plan, and pray.
My time went rather quickly and looking back I can hardly believe how much was accomplished! In Kenya I helped develop several pillows with appliqué designs, taught a class on basic quilting techniques, helped Sandi with the two unity quilt designs and helped get the Nolting mid arm quilt machine back in place and working. I was able to visit all the areas at Amani and reconnect with so many “sisters” there. It was fun to meet new acquaintances and reconnect with those I have come to love. I am amazed at what has been accomplished since my visit 3 years ago. The ladies are making over 25 different quilt designs. Three women trained in Long arm quilting are each quilting between 2 to 4 quilts a day. Others do the binding. There are many new products as well as some of the original things we taught such as the children’s book still being made. I was again blessed by wonderful food, fellowship, and friendship.
I enjoyed staying next door to Sandi and spending time with her family and other missionary friends. Life can be quite challenging in Kenya so the sweet fellowship of friends is very important.
Sandi (another volunteer from OHIO), Joyce our Kenyan host who is part of the leadership team at Amani and I traveled to Rwanda. Here I reconnected with dear friends whom I had met when traveling there with my daughters in 2005. Our main purpose was to help develop a Unity (Peace) quilt to tell the story of the women who work there. It was interesting taking their ideas and seeing them come alive on the wall hanging and hearing how it represents how they feel now and how it tells the story of reconciliation and peace. Emerging from the ashes of the genocide in 1994 this has been a difficult process of finding peace and reconciliation between the 3 tribes and the country striving towards peace and growth. It is the women of Rwanda who have led the way.
I also was able to teach a new purse pattern, and a wall hanging for the women to make. The wonderful donation from Quilt Smart was used to develop a shield of faith wall hanging and a vine and leaf pattern.
After our short visit to Rwanda we traveled to Burundi a very small and poor country between the Congo and Tanzania. It is very hot with a lot of breeze from Lake Tanganyika. Here I worked at the Amahoro Ava Herjuru center which is a sister mission of Amani in Kenya. The small center has 6 women and is run by Goreth who originally worked and trained at the Kenya center and felt called to return to Burundi and help women from her country. The women speak French here as well as in Rwanda. While here we again developed a unity or peace quilt to tell the women’s story of coming together and the reconciliation of differences after war and ethnic differences and the finding of peace through faith in God. Each unity quilt symbolizes how reconciliation and peace was demonstrated culturally and also how finding a higher peace through God’s love can reconcile differences with each other as they work along side one another, love and support one another, and find acceptance through giving grace. We also taught several new products, a market bag and a gathering bag, as well as a table runner. We visited the market and saw first hand the effects of poverty, war, poor healthcare and the unstable economic conditions. Many people only eat once a day or every other day in Burundi. It made me recognize how often I complain for no reason and how ungrateful I am for the many blessing I have as an American.
As I have often told others it is not the skills and the machines I bring it is that I care, and you care, and give for even perfect strangers that demonstrates something beyond what is normal and shows love, a higher peace. I wish all of you could experience the heartfelt appreciation for all that has been done by your gifts and support of me. I know when I go I do not travel alone but carry with me a part of all of you. I am humbled that I have been called and given the opportunity to represent all the stitching sisters, dear friends and family who support me in so many ways.
From my visit there is still work to be done, supplies to be obtained and sent, skills to be taught and people that God will call to go and help. You may be one of them. I know that your life would be enriched beyond measure so if not now when, if no you then who?
I often chuckle to myself that God can use even me!
So thank you all so much for your part and may you count your blessings each day, and feel like you had a part in something bigger than yourself.
In faith, Rosemary
If you are interested in helping me meet the needs I have identified here is a list.
Quilting rulers and large squares, for all centers
Two Janome treadle machines for Rwanda
Two Janome machines for Kenya
Someone to go and teach sewing machine repair and maintenance
Someone to teach soap making
6 sewing kits for Burundi
Several bolts of fusible interfacing
Beading elastic cord
Consider yourself up to date on the latest developments. Again, THANK YOU to everyone who made donations so Rosemary could take the Nolting Mid-Arm Quilting Machine with her to Africa. As you can see, these women are using it to make a living for themselves and their families. I want to also THANK Rosemary for being willing to continually spend her own money, time and energy to support others on our planet. One person can make a difference.....sometimes you just have to be willing to do what you can from where you are at the moment.