Wow! We have been so blessed by Mama Linda’s visit. What a great few weeks! Too short, but wonderful and with the promise of another in April 2013.
When Linda arrived, a VIP came in on the same flight. A police escort awaiting the VIP, but that was nothing compared to the greeting Linda received! Forty dancing and singing widows, tears of joy and laughter filled the small airport lounge. The students and staff prepared a wonderful assembly at Chikumbuso – songs, poems and skits welcoming Mama Linda home to Zambia.
Many of you know we are in the process of purchasing a piece of land adjacent to Chikumbuso. It has been wonderful to have Linda here with her wisdom and vision. We are working hand in hand with our seller and attorney to get a clear title and will keep you updated on the progress.
The new Off Site Safe Haven has been progressing nicely. We had hoped to open while Linda was home, but it wasn’t meant to be. Our official opening will come in the first weeks of January, where we will be transitioning some of our older girls to the new site and taking on some new girls in the On Site Safe Haven. This is going to be a tremendous help in keeping girls in school!
Linda encouraged us to send out more requests for local assistance and it paid off quickly with National Milling offering an ongoing monthly donation of roller meal and rice for Chikumbuso. The ladies were thrilled when the first donation came in – lots of dancing with bags of mealie meal!
We have a new intern just in. Carly Buehler has been involved with Chikumbuso from the beginning. She has been to Chikumbuso twice before and will be with us for a whole year! She’s just completed her Masters in Education. We are so happy to welcome her! Carly will be updating the Chikumbuso tweet – so please, if you aren’t a follower already – be sure to follow us and keep up to date on the latest at Chikumbuso. Believe it or not – it’s very important to have Facebook and Twitter followers when we apply for grants!
Finally, we closed our time with Linda at the big Zambian Art and Design Show where we displayed our new bags combining chitenge material and plastic called the Khala Pamodzi, combining ‘all together’ the widows and STARY youth. The designs were well received and we had a great sale day – about $3600.
What a great time!
As Thanksgiving Day closes, we find ourselves most grateful. We have had challenges that have been overcome, great sales, loads of laughter and some tears – but most of all we are grateful for all of you who love Chikumbuso and support the work being done here. We count ourselves most blessed.
With thanks and prayers for a wonderful holiday season for everyone,
The Ladies of Chikumbuso