Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pinafore Project

Arms stretched wide on both young and old, another pack of children ran toward me for welcome hugs. These children belong to the families somehow associated with the Life in Africa group. As I reflected on why exactly this arms-wide-open welcome is so common to me – but would never likely be expressed so openly with others – I gave thanks. I gave thanks that God would use me to show these children his love, safety, and joy. I give thanks that God would know exactly what I need and when I need it and then send a pile of obedient, dirty, smiley, energetic little ones to do the work.

As I approached the workspace, I could hear two women working together on their sewing machine – the second machine is being repaired. Soon all six ladies who faithfully attend the daily Life in Africa tailoring skills training group arrived. The teacher inspects their work and often calls for the seam ripper (I’m glad I’m not the only one who needs such a tool). The blackboard is cleared and the ladies get out their notebooks. Each with careful drawing and instructions about the specific garment they’ve learned to sew.

Stitching tiny garments so as to lower program costs is practice for the real thing. The ladies of Life in Africa go through a series of learning projects – skirts, shirts, aprons, and the like – to prepare them for the competitive world of tailoring. At the moment, the ladies are learning to make pinafores along with other school uniform pieces. My observation is that, compared to what I see in other areas, tailors are few in the village of Namavundu. Schools, though, are in abundance. I look forward to seeing how they apply their new skills and business teaching to partnering with these schools to make uniforms.