One of the limited options for women in the Acholi Quarter to make an income is to make paper bead necklaces.
Here is a short video you can watch to see how these necklaces are made. It is pretty cool! It is only a minute and forty seconds of your life. Just press play.
We really wanted to support these women, and let’s be honest – they are super talented and make really pretty jewelry, so Sara and Tricia coordinated a time for us girls to come back to the Acholi Quarter and buy necklaces from some of the women.
Tricia invited her first group of ladies who went through their counseling and discipleship program to come and meet with us.
We piled onto some boda bodas and headed up the steep hill to the Acholi Quarter. We were a little concerned that we would just slide right off the back of the bodas, but everyone arrived safely. Whew!
We walked in the doorway of Africa Arise’s office, and there were beautiful women sitting around the perimeter of the room, and the floor was entirely covered in a gorgeous array of colors and beads. It was a sight to behold.
Before the shopping started, we all introduced ourselves.
Soon we were able to start buying pretty necklaces from these lovely ladies.
Some of the girls were leaving the next day, so we all were counting our shillings to see how much money we had left and how many necklaces that meant we could take home with us.
Then the rain came. And came. And came.
Bodas would not be a feasible option to get home. We’d have to call Godfrey to pick us up in the van. Which would take forever for him to drive their in rainy weather traffic. Yikes.
But we were glad to have as much time as we could with these precious women. Most of them spoke Acholi with only a handful of English words. Yet we figured out how to communicate.
At the end, before they packed up their wares, one woman, the one who spoke the best English, came into the middle of the group and thanked us for coming and for supporting their families. She said that if we were to visit the an Acholi family in their home in the north, it was their custom to invite you in and offer you some tea. It is seen as an honor to entertain guests in your home, so she said that they would then give their guest a gift to thank them for coming. She said that they did not have any tea to offer us, but they are still honored by us coming, and so they’d like to give us a gift.
Then these women, who have so little in this life, stood up and walked around to each one of us, putting necklaces on around our necks.
It was one of the most special and humbling experiences I have ever had.
I was so grateful they let us visit them and were willing to sell us their jewelry.
I was so grateful to have the opportunity to help support their families.
I was so grateful for just the smallest glimpse into their lives and into their love.
Yet they were the ones thanking us.
They were giving us gifts so freely.
I was overwhelmed in the best way possible.
That is a culture of generosity.
That is love.