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

Upendo wa Mama

Upendo Wa Mama ("Mother's Love") Women's Group
Upendo wa Mama Group

Rachel is meeting with a group of currently nine mothers in Mwanza who either have albinism or have children with albinism. She is working alongside Under the Same Sun also with ten mothers in Dar es Salaam. Life for many mothers who have birthed children with albinism is often one of fear and rejection. Often rejected by husbands and/or by their family or village, many struggle to provide for themselves and their children and live in fear for the lives of their children. Several have had attempted attacks on their lives or their children. They have been discriminated against because of their children, whom they love with a fiercely protective love. Upendo wa Mama seeks to support these women. We meet together every Saturday and Wednesday to support and encourage one another, to work on income-generating projects and to read the Bible and pray together.

Making cards

We started by working on making handmade paper beads. We make these beads from strips of old recycled paper which are then varnished and strung into necklaces or earrings.
In doing this we see bits of garbage paper transformed into something beautiful and valued!
Bead necklaces
Bead earrings

We have learned how to make bread on a fire and now with a group oven, are starting a baking business.
In this we see a time of kneading, pressing and waiting give way to see something once squashed flat begin to rise high and the result is something of life-giving sustenance!
Making Bread
Linking in with our beekeeping projects, the women also work on beeswax products, making a variety of lip and body balms, Kitenge Beeswraps, taper candles, tealights, "Nyuki Stix" (our own version of WikiStix), all using local pure beeswax and nourishing oils.

Taper candles and Kitenge BeesWraps

Lip and Body Balms
Nyuki Stix

We also make a variety of soaps; goat's milk and honey soaps being one of our favourites!

Through the profits made from the sale of their products, the women have been able to set up a savings and loans scheme to help them pay medical and school expenses for their children. They have been able to register themselves as an official Community Based Organization and open their own bank account. Some of the women have been able to attend a tailoring course and we have purchased sewing machines for them to use in the workshop. They have been able to reach out into the community teaching others. They are having weekly lessons learning English to help them in their sales to the expat community. The money they earn is helping them to provide basic care and education for their children! 

Kitenge Giftbags
Through it all, we hope that each woman would know the love and care of their heavenly Father. That He may be glorified in their work and lives. We pray that they could help others, particularly those in similar situations to themselves and be an example to the community of all that is possible in Him!

Here are some links to some of our blog stories with the mamas...

June, 2016 Blessing when Spitting Watermelon Seeds
March, 2016 Soap and Candles: Balms from a Land Flowing with Milk and Honey
February, 2016 Mama Bees Beeswax
January, 2016 What's Going Right?

November, 2015 Strength and Joy in Turbulant Times
October, 2015 Walking Together

1 comment:

  1. Hello Rachel,
    I hope you and your family are well.
    I met you and your husband in October at the Adan Palace Hotel with Sherry Fine and the group of board members from Living Water Children's Fund.

    I have been interested for several years in the plight of persons with albinism in East Africa. I am so impressed by what you are doing with the Upendo Wa Mama groups. Do you ship the products the groups make to the US? Or is there an outlet here that sells them? I live in Maryland.

    I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.
    Barbara Livieratos
    Living Water Children's Fund


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