We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Mama Faith

Mama Faith is 40 years old. She completed Primary School at the age of 15 and married at the age of 20. I enjoyed an opportunity to get to know her better last Saturday morning, sitting on the steps outside the primary school classrooms (which were unfortunately locked up), as she arrived long before the rest of the Upendo wa Mama ("Mother's Love") group. She clearly works hard and she is inspiring in the way she perseveres through adversity. Twice, during our time together she suffered an asthma attack that left her weak and breathless. Both times we gathered around her and prayed. She doesn't have an inhaler; I talked to her about it but from what I could understand, her husband is not willing to take her to the hospital or to purchase one. But with the money she is earning from her small income-generating projects, I am encouraging her to go herself. I would have liked to take her to the hospital, but that would just make matters harder and costlier!

Mama Faith making beads
She has four children, and the three youngest (ages 16, 10 and 4) all have albinism. Things became difficult for her when she gave birth to Jackie, her second child and the first with albinism. Her husband took another wife, blaming her for birthing a child with albinism (and I think he may have taken yet another wife since then). Mama Faith struggles with her husband's drinking and with living with his other wives, who from what I gather, do not treat her well. Yet despite all the struggles, she just gets on with things; she sells bags of peanuts and baobab in town and makes shampoo to sell. She is keen to learn how to bake cakes and bread and has asked for teaching on that when we next meet together.

After we all varnished our first batch of beads together and studied Genesis 3, I went to her house for an impromptu late lunch and was able to meet her three youngest children, Jackie, Nora and Faith, before they returned to their boarding school. Jackie wants to be an accountant and Nora a nurse. Beautiful girls!

Beads in the making

Varnishing the beads

Mama Rose varnishing the beads we have been making
I am really enjoying my time with these women. They have made many beads, which will now be threaded into jewellery. It was beautiful to see their happy surprise looking at their beads on Saturday when the varnish was added! The finishing touch to something of beauty from a scrap of rubbish!
Each woman contributes every time to the group fund and as we think about saving up for an oven to start a cooking business, they are looking into how they register the group and set up a bank account. I am excited about the potential possibilities, but happy going slowly with them to see that things happen in a sensible and sustainable way.

We continue each time reading our Bibles together. This week we were talking about how Eve, when tempted by the snake, doubted that God was really enough. Eve thought she should take for herself what looked good to her (the fruit). If we don't see God for who He really is, this is such an easy mistake to make. It is as easy here as anywhere to reach out for anything that we think will help us, something that looks good and we think will then "be enough". It could be money or relationships, diets, drugs, technology or the witchdoctor, but it will never be enough. Reading God's word, we continue to look for a God who is really able, a God who is good, a God we truly can trust. And seeing Mama Faith walk in faith through difficulty shows me the gracious provision of a God who is able.


  1. Love it Rachel... "happy going slowly...to see that thing happen in a sensible and sustainable way". You are wise, and rich in love. Praying a blessing over the sweet mommas, and over you and the fam!

    1. Thank you, Meg! So appreciate your prayers! (keep praying for the wisdom and love though ... not there yet!)


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