Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kipepeo Designs

I met Rachel because a former coworker recognized the parallels of our ministries in East Africa. An early partner in Kipepeo Designs (Kipepeo is the Swahili word for butterfly), Rachel travels from the UK to Kenya four times each year to be with the ministry. As only God could plan, she was scheduled to reach Kenya during the small window when I would be there as well.

The old way of grinding paper to a pulp, by hand.
The new way of grinding paper to a pulp.

Like meeting an old friend, Rachel hopped out of the car to greet me with a hug. Ya’ll know that’s my kind of greeting. We quickly and easily began chatting about our lives and our ministries during our ride to the offices just outside Kibera slum – the largest in Kenya. We found piles of ladies hard at work…taking tea. Teatime is an integral part of the daily work schedule, having been colonized by the British, and we enjoyed a spot of tea ourselves.

Rachel offered me a tour of the compound and introduced me to every lady by name – why do I have such a hard time mastering the names of every person I work with, Lord please help me – to see the process of card making. Grinding paper to a pulp, sifting, flattening, drying, and adding the decoration – the process flowed smoothly. The ladies were quite welcoming and eager to show me exactly how their step in the process works. It seemed simple, but I have a feeling there’s a real art to the science of making paper.

Back in the office a small team meeting ensued where I sensed a few areas where I might be of use. These very smart ladies are sometimes too close to the problem to recognize it for themselves but they were so very willing to hear my thoughts on the topic at hand. I’m so thankful I was able to add some small value during this short visit and pray that we have the opportunity to work together again in the future (we’re already scheming).

In the mean time, just wait until you see the adorable card designs I’m bringing back to the States for you to enjoy while at the same time helping support the women of Kipepeo Designs.

I've got six of these little guys and a pile of others for you to select from.