Saturday, December 10, 2011

Maps of the World

The other day we had a customer who ordered a wallhanging with a map of Nigeria, and then asked if we could also make one with a map of Canada. Well, we do a lot of Africas and a lot of Nigerias, but we've never been asked to make a map of Canada before. The ladies are always up for a challenge, so they accepted the job. A few days later I heard about it, and I said, "Do you know what Canada looks like?" I sent for the world map in the school, and we had a good long look at Canada. To tell you the truth, I'd never really studied it before. The whole northern part of Canada is islands! If we had a few weeks to get it done, we could do it, but since the customer was coming in just two days, we had to act fast.
After mulling it over, I said, "Why don't you make the Canadian flag instead of the country." So, they called the customer, and the customer agreed to the change. Two days later, this is what I saw:

I was pretty impressed with their Canadian flag! We had looked at it on the internet together, but then they figured out how to enlarge it and get everything done.

The other wallhanging is a map of Nigeria. Cleverly, it also has the green/white/green of the Nigerian flag on it. The yo-yos are just for decoration.

I'm pretty impressed with how well the ladies can tackle new projects and get a beautiful result.

Friday, December 2, 2011


When I see graciousness in action, I try to remember those experiences--in the hopes of becoming more gracious myself.

While we were selling our Women of Hope handicrafts in Abuja, a woman looked through the five aprons we had on display. After she decided on a lime green batik apron, I noticed a small hole in the fabric. I told her, "Oh, I'm sorry, this one has a small flaw. Can you choose another color?" And I took the lime green apron off the display table and packed it away.

She checked through the other aprons, but couldn't really find one that she liked as well. Then she said, "Just let me buy that one--someone's got to take it."

We thanked her and threw in an extra gift bag for the favor she did for us. She was an example of graciousness in action for me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011

Every December 1, we commemorate World AIDS Day. We remember those who have died and we celebrate the advances that have been made in the care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Our women will be participating in a march through part of Jos today along with hundreds of others.

Yesterday, we marked the event in two special ways.

Six of our women acted out a 10-minute drama during the Hillcrest chapel service. They showed the story of a young woman who was just diagnosed with HIV and how her auntie threw her out of the house because of it. As she was walking around looking for help, she encountered someone who was willing to house her. That person also introduced her to a ministry with a sewing program where she could receive help. After the drama, all of the women introduced themselves and told a little bit of their own stories.

The drama was based on an experience that some of them have had. Thankfully, there are some families that continue to show love and support in the midst of an HIV diagnosis.

Bayo and I traveled to the US Embassy in Abuja (capital) in order to take part in their commemoration of World AIDS Day. Esther David, one of the first women in the sewing program, also went along. We were able to share briefly about our work with women and children. Esther shared boldly, as she always does, about living with HIV, and her gratefulness to Mashiah Foundation for care and support and also to PEPFAR for providing her with free drugs for the past nine years.

PEPFAR stands for President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It is the largest humanitarian relief ever given by the United States. HIV-infected Nigerians are incredibly grateful for this gift. PEPFAR works in 15 countries around the world.

Esther testified that had it not been for PEPFAR she may not have lived to raise her four children, ranging in age from 9-19.

The day would not be complete without selling our handicrafts made by the Women of Hope. It was a really great day in Abuja.