Simon and I are busy planning our next trip to Madagascar. We are excited to be joined this year, by two friends from our college days, Maggie & Paul, who live in Paris. We have not seen them since 2006, when they came to Chicago to visit their eldest daughter who was studying at the University of Chicago.
This year, Maggie and my main focus will be on setting up a Days for Girls Enterprise in Toliara, so that the women can receive, make and sell sanitary napkin kits at an affordable price. Currently many girls miss one week of school a month, and the women are unable to work, which means no income and possibly no food for the family. Imagine using dirty rags, corn husks, newspaper, sand, leaves or sitting on cardboard for the week, and the resultant scarring and infections, and you’ll soon realise why I got involved in trying to help find a solution.
The North Suburban NeedleArts Guild (NSNG) have really taken to the Days for Girls project in a big way. They wanted to run with the idea as soon as I mentioned it, so I’ve had to scramble hard and fast to get it all underway, but there are people washing fabric, people cutting fabric, people serging liners, people making bags, people buying washcloths, people promising their entire bead collection, and so on. We’re glad we haven’t down-sized our house yet and have space to store all this!
On Saturday we had a quilting day at church, where we make quilts for Ethiopian orphans (Addis Ababa is at high altitude & therefore cold at night). Two of us recalled a lady who had said she would donate rolls of fabric, so we phoned her and she explained that she was liquidating her design business and if we came on Sunday or Monday, she’d give us lots of fabric.
Sunday was overwhelming when we came back with three car loads of assorted fabrics. We kept 1/3 for Mada and 1/3 for Quilts Beyond Borders and gave away 1/3 which weren’t usable by either project.
Simon’s car has the fabric we couldn’t use but the donor insisted we took all or none. Thankfully NSNG members took all of that, plus the car load of fabric sample books. (A teacher had been going to ask her students to get fabric sample books, so took all that no-one else wanted; another woman is making Biblical costumes for her church and took a lot of neutral fabric).
I am in a much better place today, now that I have got rid of 1/3 of the fabric. So we only have 2/3 in our house still, plus 94 yards of flannel which arrived on Monday, four large carrier bags of beads, 60 yards of PUL (Polyurethane Laminate, a waterproof fabric), and a partridge in a pear tree (or so it feels!!)
Then last night I got a call from a Guild member, whose husband has a business in Georgia, and they have promised a semi-truck to drive on to Atlanta (another 90 minutes) to deliver all the bags from here to there. It can take many more than the 8 bags which I had arranged transportation for already, and now the high school group have said they can take 20- bags rather than 6 or 8, which was what they originally said.
So I think day 1 in Toliara will be unpacking!!!!!!
This is all very exciting. Thanks be to our God who provides more than we can imagine was even needed!