Monday, October 31, 2011

For You have turned my griefs into joy

Our favorite part of tukula is telling women that they are hired or that we have more work.
Today, while sitting on the floor of her room, I told the new girl that I was bringing her more work at the end of the week and she jumped up and cheered. JOY. This girl's story is full of redemption and filled with a God who spares lives. As I continued to visit with her, God affirmed every good and perfect work He has done in her life and we smiled.

At tukula we's hard not to. I remember times in the small blue shop where laughter made my sides split and my eyes tear up. It just flows - even in the hard times. It erupts out of no-where and it proceeds when I lie in bed and remember. We have many visitors come and meet with all or a few of the ladies and everyone's response always involves the words "happy", "funny", or "joyful". Whether it's Sally's jokes or Bennah's signature phrases you can't help but smile. I think it's because tukula does more than provide women with jobs, we help restore dignity and lift burdens. We are very grateful to be apart of something bigger than ourselves - and we thank YOU for the continued opportunity.

"Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
-Mother Theresa

Sunday, October 30, 2011

As it is snowing back in Pennsylvania where we (Joe and Melissa) are from we are sitting here in Uganda with the windows open wide. I can't help but think how big our world is and at the same time how small...we could walk onto a plane here in flip flops and several hours later land in a place covered in white cold powder.

In 2009 around this time tukula was a small seed in our minds and now it is a living breathing thing . The past few month have been ones of learning how to transition. Sally left Esther's shop and has become the "head tailor" at our newest shop in jinja town. Our hopes together with Sally are that she will save money to someday return to her homeland of Arua to open her own tailoring shop. Esther's stomach has been growing bigger and bigger and pretty soon there will be a brand new baby to spoil. Prossy has become busy trying to grow her small cellphone business here and is finding it difficult to sew in her spare time. We miss her but know she is doing work that is important to her and benefiting her family. Bennah is busy in bukaya producing all our hand-loomed products and taking care of sweet baby Jacob. We are welcoming some new girls to our team because the orders have become too much for our current women to keep up with. We are excited to introduce you to them soon.

The other day I walked into a coffee shop and someone I didn't know was pulling money out of one of our kitenge clutches and I smiled to myself thinking of all the many tukula items making their way around the world and the people carrying them. I am blessed to be able to dream this big with tukula.

Thank you for supporting us and giving us the opportunity to grow.
love, melissa