“If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
Today was a GREAT day.
Today we began our sewing class in Korah with 7 mothers, 6 sweet babies, 2 amazingly quiet toddlers, 2 servant-hearted doulas, 1 awesome translator, and 2 volunteers from the USA, one who spent the afternoon snuggling up to the babies and the second… a home economics teacher from Minnesota who will be continue to teach the classes over the next 10 weeks. The mothers were full of smiles and excitement, each arriving with sweet baby wrapped onto their back.
We visited with one another, cooed over their babies, and offered them food and drink. They were shy to help themselves to the refreshments but very happy when we insisted they “Eat, Eat”.
It being our first class, as we were setting up, we realized we had not thought through all of the logistics, like the necessity of a table for cutting and measuring the material; and a plan for how to take care of the babies while the moms worked. In true Ethiopian style, we adapted to our situation – grabbed 2 beautifully donated quilted blankets from our office –and used them for our cutting surface and for the sleeping babies. Everything worked out fine- “chigger yellum”. No problem.
Many days lack the same hope and joy that today brought. These seven mothers represent the religious diversity of the women in Korah – Protestant, Muslim, and Orthodox. They come from different backgrounds but who all have one thing in common – the very real pressure they all experience to put food on the table, to pay their rent, and to keep themselves and their little ones healthy. They all dream of a better future for their children. That is their hope. And yet sometimes it is hard to keep hope alive.
Some days, inside their dark, wet homes; on days when a husband is absent or abusive; when a mother is told her daughter cannot attend public school because her husband has disappeared with their child’s birth certificate – on days when there is only dry, crusty injera to eat and the children are pleading for food; some days are hard to keep that hope alive.
“Yet if we believe tomorrow will be better, we can bear today.”
Sewing class provides a better today and a better tomorrow. Our hope is that after this class is finished and their newborns are older, we will be able to get some of these mothers into a vocational training program in sewing, with 100 % success rate of employment for women graduating from this specific program.
In the meantime, they can enjoy time together, laughing, cooing over babies and learning a new skill.
They can take home a beautiful blanket that as one woman said, “Makes me feel like royalty!”… and one that she has helped to make.
It can be a ray of sunshine in a dark, cruel week.
And it can help them get through another day, knowing they are doing something to better their future.