Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taking Shape

Selestina, the girl featured in the last blog. If you go back and look at that picture it does not even look like the same girl and this picture is only one month after the last! After teaching her mother the right foods to feed her and adding moringa in her diet she is now a healthy and happy!

The men and women who participated in the sewing workshop! They are holding up the shorts and skirts they made!

Selestina, my moringa girl, with her happy mother!

“Be free and come closer to me so we go the same way!”
-Gift; The founder of Holland Disabled Association and facilitator of the sewing workshop introducing himself to the new Luamala sewing group.

During one of the election rallys in my village.
Today is an epic day in Zambia! It is Election Day in this 3rd world country. Since the last election over one million more people are registered to vote. Villagers are walking miles even maybe 15 to vote. A lot of them are not able to read, but the government has made it possible for them to vote allowing them to bring a child who can read with them. They realize that their vote counts and they are proud to have the chance to have a say in their future. The dedication inspires me!

During the sewing workshop! The women just finished the zipper and were really 
proud of themselves!
The past week has been a vision that took a while to come alive, but it has finally happened! One of the first blogs I wrote about being here in Zambia I posted a picture of about 15 ladies who begged me to give them knowledge to sew. Because of generous donations I have been able to buy 3 sewing machines and put on a sewing workshop. This past week I held a 4-day sewing workshop in Luamala for about 32 women and men!  Here in Zambia there is a thing called “Africa time” where people always show up about an hour late to anything. I was so excited when the group showed up an hour before time each day ready to learn! They craved for the knowledge and didn’t want to leave when the time came each day.  They were taught to make the skirts and shorts of school uniforms. They also had to learn how to measure and make their own pattern on a board. They all were able to learn and were so proud of themselves at the end. The faces didn’t stop glowing!

Kacious Mwabila, a 9 year old boy, son to one of my dedicated community members. 
The first day of the sewing workshop one of the mothers spoke up saying how encouraged
she was to see Gift have a flourishing life and organization even though he has a big
 disability. She brought her son Kacious to us with hopes he would too. Gift said Holland
 Disabled Association could help him get to the Italian Hospital in the capital 12 hours 
away to have an assessment. After the assessment we will get the cost of how to fix his 
problem whether surgery or just crutches. Please think or pray about to see if you
 would be interested in sponsoring him! In this picture his knee is bleeding because I was 
trying to get him to walk on video then he fell. Not a good life to lead.

The facilitator was my tailor and good friend in the nearest town, Gift. He is the founder of Holland Disabled Association, which is an organization to get disabled people off the streets and give them a chance to really live. Disabled brilliant Zambians run it and the Association teaches disabled people skills like welding, sewing, etc! He has taught many disabled people sewing and was just an absolute encouragement for everyone! He is all smiles and has the biggest heart! The Association has suffered a loss of financial support lately because of the death of their main support and could really use some help. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but if anyone knows of any grants or any ways they could get money to help them reach more disabled people in the surrounding villages please let me know! They also need crutches, wheelchairs, etc to help support the people they are ministering to.

Melium has been to almost all meetings and has been very excited about the sewing 
workshop. There was only one problem, she has cataracts. I would look over to her during
 the workshop and she would be struggling to see. There is a hospital 5 hours away who 
does the procedure for free. Would anyone like to sponsor her for transportation and food?
 It would cost approximately $30. 
One day I came to the association to discuss the sewing workshop with Gift. We were about to go into the market to look for sewing machines when a lady showed up for the first time. She was barefoot and I could tell a bit shy. She hobbled into the room and Gift excused himself for a moment. After about 5 minutes he came back apologized for leaving saying, “She didn’t have any shoes. She is used to just sitting in the village not having anything to live for. She is going to be a tailor now and she should not be barefoot. I found her some shoes.” With tears in my eyes after watching all this happen in front of me I said, “No worries please help her.” He didn’t want this woman waiting one more minute for shoes; he knew she deserved a chance as soon as possible. I want to give disabled people in villages a chance too. I feel like Gift, I can’t wait for one minute more. The time is now.

Gift teaching the very interested class!

The tools to make beehives were bought last week from the money you donated! People are so excited about making the beehives and starting a cooperative! We were also able to buy a pig (hopefully pregnant)! Mox is keeping it for now, but when it gives birth we will loan out the piglets. Then when it has babies they will give the community back a pig.  Oh yeah… the rabbit is pregnant so people are about to start getting rabbit loans the same way the pig loan will work!

The pig bought to provide pig loans to interested community members! 

Biston is one of the men who had the opportunity to go to Mfuwe to learn.
Before he went he was telling Mox he had no shoes to wear to go. So of
course I bought him some from the donations made! Thank you!
I was able to send three villagers to Mfuwe (Eastern Zambia and a 24 hour bus ride away) to learn at Willard Colston’s (a native of Habersham County) Kenneth Kaunda Seed Research Center. They learned all about different farming techniques, trees, and vegetables! They also learned about moringa, a tree that is also called the tree of life because of the unbelievable nutrients it holds. It is said to heal over 460 diseases! Thank you Willard for allowing them to carry back an entire bag full of dried leaves! We have already crushed them and will be packaging them this week to give to the dedicated community members to try. Villagers are already excited about how it will provide nutrients to their children and themselves! I have about 100 seeds to plant and my goal is for every family to have a tree to provide them with extra nutrients in their not so nourishing diets!

Benefits of Moringa leaves!

A boy modeling the shorts this group made in the sewing workshop!
Group 3 during the sewing workshop learning with Gift!

Many good things are happening right now because of financial support and prayers from many of you! You might have given a donation, said a simple prayer, or given me a word of encouragement (It is not an easy job. In fact it is the hardest job I have ever had, and I don’t even get paid.) So, if you have done any of those things I thank you for being a part of my life and my villages!

Joseiah, one of the hardest working men I have in my community!
My daily visitors who come over to read, play, or just watch me (I am still so interesting to them).

If you want to support any of these projects you can send a check to my parents. My mother is my accountability partner and is cosigned on the Luamala account. If you support you will receive expense reports!


  1. Photo #2 reminds me of the "Where's Waldo?" books that you and I used to read together. Good work Kat! I love the last photo of the kids visiting at your house with big smiles and books in hand. You know I could comment on your willingness to transport that pig...but I won't. Love you!

  2. Katherine, I love these photos. They all make me smile. I love seeing the happiness on the faces of the Zambians. You are loved and prayed for. Blessings for your ministry. Keep sending these updates.

  3. Kat,
    Send Melium for the cataract surgery. D and I will get the money to your mom Wed 21st. hillyaker@yahom.com

  4. Kat--

    The work you are doing is incredible! I am so happy to see this! Sending thoughts and prayers your way!

    Amanda Anderson

  5. Kat- you are as beautiful as your mother and as loving as Jesus. You inspire me! alison brewer

  6. Kat --- girl you are something else! I am so happy for you, and slightly jealous :)!! What an amazing gift you have of love for these precious folks. Praying for you & your villagers.....

  7. I know your grandmother Daisy and your great grandparents,papaJack & mamaJack are very proud of you and the work you are doing. Aunt Daisy did not have the same opportunities you have but she was a "missionary" to campers and a prayer walker who brought in many for God's kingdom.
    God bless you
    Susan DeFoor

  8. “Be free and come closer to me so we go the same way!” - Gift
    Please tell Gift that his quote speaks to your mom and dad. We discussed last night how what he said is true in marriage. Drawing close means taking emotional risk but yields the joy of "going the same way". Tell Gift thank you for encouraging us so many miles and a culture away from Solwezi. What kind of practical help can we give to Gift?

  9. Katherine,
    I know you don't know me, but I am John's teacher. Your mother emailed me the link to your blog today and I had the opportunity to share your story with John's class this afternoon. They were all touched! It often takes a situation that hits close to home for them to understand the true value of life's lessons. We will continue to follow your blog often as a class. You have helped me find away to drive home the lesson of what it means to have love and ambition throughout all you desire in life. Thank you.

  10. Thank you everyone for the support and encouraging comments! It is not easy and there are definitely hard, trying times! Overall it is worth it, but couldn't do it without your support! I want you all to know I really appreciate each one of you!

  11. Kat,
    I love reading your blogs, seeing pictures of the faces whose lives you are changing... It is truly amazing that you are shaping a community and giving hope to so many there and even folks back home. Your stories help me to see through new eyes. It is easy to get caught up in life and take for granted all the little things while losing perspective on the bigger ideals. Thank you for bringing us your perspective and keeping us grounded.
    Marissa Henderson

  12. Well done.You have done a great job.Lesa bless you.

  13. so proud of the work you are doing there.....
    God is using you and strengthening you.

  14. Just wanted to make sure that you had received the money for Melium's cataract surgery. If not, I will find the money for her. I purchased a bag from your mom, but I also wanted to make sure she got the medical attention she needed. shannonromano@yahoo.com is my email if you ever need one more person--on a list of many--willing to help you and your villagers. :)