Tuesday, March 18, 2014

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” ― Nelson Mandela

We had eight widows yesterday and we have twelve today—not that their husbands died yesterday, they just hadn’t gotten the right starting date.  Shaban is out trying to buy two more pregnant goats, but since the goat market was last Friday, he’s got his work cut out for him.  The women are so excited about what they are learning, they asked for one of the machines to be put in where they are sleeping, so they could practice more last night.  These machines are all powered by feet, treadle machines, so they can be used anywhere (see picture at the right).  When Karen was in Home Economics class back in the sixties, these were the kinds of machines she learned on, so she knows whereof she speaks.  We have to teach maintenance and repair as well because while there are fundis (craftsmen who know how to repair these machines) they don’t work for free and these women don’t have much money.  It is also not unheard of for a fundi to fix the machine so that it will break again in a short time thus earning him even more money.  Karen is also giving them sewing tools (scissors, cloth, thread, etc.) so that they can get started and be even more self-sufficient.  Training a widow to sew on a treadle machine and not giving her scissors would be like giving someone a new car but no keys.  Karen is in a lot of pain from her fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, but she does not let that get in the way of teaching these women.  She gets them started, comes in to lie down for a bit, then goes back out and teaches some more.  She came in last night so tired, I thought she would go to sleep in her chair, but she got back up to go out and tell the ladies to have a good sleep.  What a woman!  She’s my hero!   Yesterday, when I wrote about my cousin’s loss, I revealed intimate information that the family did not want spread about.  I apologized to them and ask for your discretion as well.  The family still needs your prayers, as do I.
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