I think it is important for me to document about some incredible women here. On facebook I asked people to pray for Jane, who they did not know. I know many people have been so let me tell you about her. Jane is a lady of about 43 years of age, she did tell us but that piece of information I have forgotten. She has three children that are alive, and one who has died. Jane is a widow, HIV positive, suffered from polio as a child and hence wears a caliper and has skin cancer. What a hopeless case! Who should care about her?
Well, first let me tell you a little of her story and you too can become an admirer. I don't know much about her early life and the polio but she was married to a man who she loved. Unfortunately, that man also liked to drink. Unknown to her at the time he must have also behaved badly, can I say, and so contracted HIV. He, like many sufferers did not want to be tested. He finally was tested when he was very sick in hospital, thinking it was a test for malaria. Not long afterwards, he dies and leaves Jane with three young children to rear. Of course, she then had to find out whether she too was infected. The shame of it all for her was that in fact she was. This led to very hard times for her as she had to come to terms with it. She then had her leg swell up and this was the skin cancer (that is closely related to the HIV positive status). Hence, starting treatment with ARV(anti-retro viral) drugs. These are very effective but need time to be adjusted to. So, many pressures for a lady who had previously been active in the disabled society in Jinja helping others. Now, she had so many issues for herself. However, the best part of the story is that she sought out God. She had known about Him from the Catholic upbringing she had but not known the personal relationship that was possible. However, she called to a pastor who went past and told him that she wanted to become a Christian. Jane's faith shines out. Survival for her is probably a daily battle but you would not know it. She smiles, she is welcoming and despite her humble home is very hospitable. Jane gives me hope, she reminds me that it is not the circumstances that determine how she will be but her faith in God. Most of all the characteristic that I love and admire in Jane is that she is not selfish. She has started and been involved in so many groups for others. She does not do things only for her gain. If she thinks that I might be able to help her sister or her sister-in-law she is not backward in coming forward. She does not just do craft for herself, she has a group that is being incorporated. She is aware of the needs of HIV positive people who are disabled like herself, so she started a group and is the chairperson. The help given to the group did not go to her, but she was encouraged by it. So much to give hope, with people like Jane, Uganda can be the nation it should be. For those that saw my Facebook messages about praying for her. Thank you, she is recovered and looked as happy as ever today and thanks you for your prayers. More of this story, written much better and with more details will probably become part of the website and promotional material that Jocelyn will have for her fair trade sales. It was such an indescribably lovely thing to be the link that connected Jocelyn (who was here on team) with Jane's craft cooperative.
On the other side of the world are another bunch of incredible women that have provided a lot of encouragement to me. They are the ladies that have made quilts to be given to the mothers and children at the village. So much work and effort has been put into these beautiful quilts. The children and mothers are so blessed by their work. For these children the quilt is something that they have that is their very own and unlike their clothes something that will last. A quilt is not a necessity and so as to have one is such a privilege and special. Then to think that it was made especially for you by someone across the world is so special. I have looked at the tags on the quilts and think of each of the people, many of whom I knew through Sew Blessed. I cannot express the gratitude enough. Now, each of their beds is more theirs than before. It is easily identified by the quilt that is theirs, made for them.
Two houses had been given quilts a few weeks ago and then on Monday we gave the other two houses theirs. It was with a sense of great excitement because they now knew what they were. It was so interesting to see the different choices that they made as they got to choose the one that they would like. Then, the boys room in particular was transformed. No longer was there any rubbish on the floor, it had to be swept and mopped. All the shelves needed to be tidy. Once the quilts were on the beds, mess looked so out of place that without any coaxing they tidied up. What a testimony of them feeling like they were important and they could have nice things. The same thing happened in each room as they worked out how best to put each quilt on the bed and present it to the full. Thank you ladies, your hard work is not in vain. It is so much appreciated.
Pictures never tell the whole story but hopefully the pictures give you some idea. Also, as an aside I hope that Jocelyn does not mind me telling the above story ahead of time.
Are these the only incredible women here? No, there are so many people with so many stories. I cannot imagine having to cope with situations of poverty, starvation and caring for children when a husband has left, let alone ill-health. However, I will tell you other stories other days, or if you know me, then you will probably get sick of hearing about their stories.