Monday, June 20, 2011

I am angry.

As I've written before, I sponsor a woman in the Congo through Women for Women International. I have written letters to Sifa, but I haven't received any. Today I found out why: Sifa is completely illiterate. She only has "some primary" education. So she is completely unable to write, or to read.

But that's not why I'm angry.

I found this out through a questionnaire that Sifa filled out on attending her first class with Women for Women. The questionnaire gives a picture of a life that is probably all too common across the world, and one that appears destined to be repeated by Sifa's children. That should make everyone angry.

Here are the answers to Sifa's questionnaire:

She has three children, two boys and a girl.
Are they school-aged? Yes
Are they in school? No
If not in school, why not? No money

What education level have you attained? Some primary
Can you read more than your name? No
Can you write more than your name? No

Does your dwelling have electricity? No
What is the main source of lighting? Kerosene
Source of water? Public standpipe

Are you working? Yes (She didn't answer the question about type of work.)
General health of your family? Poor
Have you lost any family members from war, violence, poverty, illness, or political oppression? Yes

What would you like to achieve by participating in this program? (She didn't answer.)

I am so angry.

WHY am I complaining this morning about the internet not working in our house?
Why am I looking around at all the things I need to get rid of to clean our house for my parents' visit next week?
Why do I have so much--so much stuff, so many choices, so many dreams, so much health, so much education--and she has nothing?

Why aren't more people more angry?

Bob and I have been talking about my passion for sponsorship, and how to convince more people to get on board. Why don't we feel an urgent need to take care of Sifa and her children? There are means available. Why aren't more of us doing more?

I dream about a world in which we feel as responsible for Sifa's children as we do our own. It doesn't just take a village; it takes a globe. Imagine a world in which we all "adopted" each other, fed each other, clothed each other, educated each other. Surely that's what God intends.

Meanwhile, NPR did another story about Somalia, and the famine, poverty, and violence going on there, which the world appears to be ignoring. The reporter interviewed a young mother there and asked her how they survive.

"We don't survive," she answered, "We exist."

Shouldn't we all be angry?

If you're angry, please PLEASE go to Women for Women and sponsor a woman like Sifa. Or come volunteer at the Run for Congo Women July 31 in Denver. Please?

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Look at the super-sweet lace on this one!
Lilia and I spent the better part of Friday and Saturday working on pillowcase dresses to give to our friend Tammy Fairweather. Tammy and her husband Jack live in the Philippines, where they minister to street kids, and they were looking for donations of clothing. Seemed like a great opportunity for Lilia to learn how to sew!

Off we went to Goodwill, where we found lots of pillowcases that would make pretty, pretty dresses for little girls (OK, and a few that definitely would not. But we didn't buy those.). Then a trip to Joanne's for double-fold bias tape, elastic, thread, and ric-rac and other decorative trims, and we were up and running.

We got our directions from this site. I have looked and looked for good directions for pillowcase dresses, and these are definitely the best!

We managed to knock out six little dresses! Here they are posing attractively on our driveway. (Sorry, it's the only place the light was good.) I think we did pretty well! Lilia is now quite the seamstress.

We made several different sizes, depending on the size of the pillowcase and, well, our moods.

I love the colors on this one--especially the pastel mutli-colored ric-rac that Lilia found!

We still have pillowcases to work on! 

If you want to try your hand at some of these, check out the directions at 402 Center Street Designs--super easy, and funny too! A really great way to teach your daughter (or son!) All About Sewing Machines.

There are several organizations looking for pillowcase dresses. 

This site recommends Little Dresses for Africa.  Looks cool--maybe I'll send our next batch there. We've got some really pretty pillowcases still . . .

Monday, June 6, 2011

Run for Congo Women July 31!!

OK, Denverites...

Non-athlete that I am, I am helping with the 2011 Run for Congo Women. Here is my call to you: Sign up to run or walk, or to VOLUNTEER!

Why Congo Women? I've written before about Women for Women International, and how I am sponsoring my dear sister Sifa as she benefits from financial support, job training, and counseling.

The women in Congo are living a total hell every day. By participating in RFCW, you can help, in a real, tangible way--proceeds from the race go to sponsor other women through Women for Women International.

If you need any more convincing, read this article about last year's race.

Sign up to run or to volunteer!
Run for Congo Women
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Race start: 8:30 a.m.
Wash Park
Denver, CO
5K Run/Walk