Well, it's here. And I'm speechless.
This morning as I sat with the girls, my breath caught in my chest and tears threatened to fall. I listened to them chatter and laugh. And watched them walk around proudly sporting their new bags, just because. I am so overwhelmed by His love for us and the special people He brings into lives to show us that love.
I prayed for No. 41 (not knowing what it would be) long before I ever came to Rwanda. I prayed for these girls before I ever knew their names. Their faces. And this week, right in front of my face, my dreams are coming to fruition. Almost immediately. And it's not just me. It's a dream for these girls that no one ever bothered to encourage them to hope for.
Two short weeks after starting this little project, not only am I seeing the bags come together, but I'm seeing these young women come alive. They are happy and thriving. They have something to be proud of. And someone to take notice. I encourage them daily, and I tell them about all of you who make this possible. I tell them this house, these machines, all the materials, it's because you believe in them. Because I believe in them. Today, for the first time, I saw belief in their eyes.
Today I told them that I was going to start looking for sponsors for them. Before I could even get out any other words, they were squealing, jumping up and down, high-fiving me and each other. I explained that the sponsorship would come in the form of their salary. In two weeks, they will be finished with their training and will start full-on work. Since we haven't started selling bags yet, and I don't actually even know what it will look like when we do, I thought sponsors might be a good option. After seeing their reaction, I know it's a great option. The girls base pay is just slightly above the national average and is $34/month. Later this week I am going to start profiling the girls and I would ask you to please pray about how you can help.
They are giddy at the thought. And I honestly think that it's just to have someone to "belong" to; they have known all along that they would get a salary. They immediately started calling dibs. Beatrice has asked for my mom. Patrice would like my G-ma. Amelie is asking for my best friend, preferably a "hot white man". When I told them that all of the sponsors would be my friends and family, everyone was over the moon. Once we all calmed down, they said, "Do you think people will really want to sponsor us?" I said, "I know they will."
Just before we finished up our day here, I posted the photo of the first finished bag on instagram and Facebook. As you all started to send in your likes and comments, I told them. I said, "Look! They love it. They love your bags!" More squealing, jumping, laughing. It's beyond their wildest dreams and it's barely begun. Thank you.
We also owe you another big, fat thank you.
Yesterday, because of you, we bought 3 more machines (we are up to 10), a cutting table, an iron, a bookshelf, and some new fabrics.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!
|Practice bags. And I need you to know what an accomplishment it is to have 3 out of 4 looking at the camera.|
|We had to expand into another room!|
We are going to make you proud. :)