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

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

From the Hive! Kitenge Beeswraps and Beeswax Balms

Before our Zanzibar adventures, things were really moving with the Mamas! The Upendo wa Mama group in Mwanza was working hard to make a record number of beeswax balms, soaps and beeswraps for a friend connected to a Fair Trade Shop in Sweden. They were also busy making many Kitenge Beewraps for the Bees Abroad table at the National Honey Show in the UK. Talk about a hive of activity!

It was wonderful to have Ineke Varcoe come and help us finish off the last things on our last day before boxing up! She (and the members of Harrow Church in London) have been prayerful and practical supporters of our group from the start, and it was lovely to have her with us. She shared chai and English shortbread with us and we continued our delve into Proverbs, finding nuggets of timely and applicable wisdom. 
Products ready to go!
It was a big relief to have the orders completed in the nick of time! I then travelled to the Under the Same office in Dar es Salaam to work with the Upendo wa Mama women's group there. It had been an unusually long time between visits, and it was wonderful to see them all again. It hasn't been easy for them, and I wish I could offer easy answers, but sometime there just aren't any. But I hope I could encourage them to persevere, and together we made progress! We are working to connect their work together with the Mwanza group, as they continue to make beeswraps and soaps and hopefully now more balms. 

Making Coconut Milk Soap

Making Beeswraps

While in Dar, it was great to catch up with Ester, Rahab and Hadijah and others in the office. It was great to go with Ester to VCC a few times and share a meal together. I was able to drop off a visa application for Laura, our new teammate and do some exploring and shopping in the completely crazy Kariakoo market. It was also a really special surprise to find a good friend in Dar at the same time! Amy Dixon and I were able to meet up for lunch and an afternoon of chatting while I was there!
with Amy
And this past weekend it was fantastic to hear reports from Bees Abroad about the National Honey Show! Our Tanzanian Beeswraps were very popular with their unique African prints and soft pliability, and quickly sold out! Demand is now high with a London market asking for an initial one hundred! And they will soon be available for Christmas in the UK through Bees Abroad online!

Now the mamas are busy preparing all these beeswraps and also other products for the Mwanza Christmas Craft Fair. The progress of the group is certainly not without frustrations and problems, but we are continually trusting God to make a way! In the midst of all the work, there is plenty of time to talk and pray which is always so important. Supporting one another in these recent weeks through sickness, family troubles, attempted break-in/attacks is more important than any number of beeswraps we could make. And the good news is that the women are able to take home monthly profits now and it is encouraging to talk about their goals and plans as they save for new home enterprises. And also wonderful to be talking about how we as a group can reach out with the blessings we have received to bless others.

1 comment:

  1. It's wonderful news that the products are selling and even sold out in the UK God is certainly moving in many different ways.


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