Hard Stuff

The workshop is calm and still right now.  I can hear Charles snipping fabric in the small sewing room behind the main building and the ticking of the clock on the wall behind me.  The neighbor’s gate across the street creaks as people leave for work.  A rooster is crowing in the distance and there is a faint sound of honking matatus hurrying to town a few blocks away.  But mostly it is quiet.  Soon, however, there will be a bustle of activity, as the tea is placed on the gas cooker to warm, and artisans shuffle in to rummage for beads and jewelry and their sewing pieces, and chairs are set up for devotions.

Most days I have a headache by 10 a.m.  I’m not complaining–I’m just being honest.  I feel complete peace and joy about being here, and I know it’s where I’m supposed to be.  However, the Facebook pictures might make you think we’re just leisurely enjoying the lake, swimming, avocados, and games.  But you should know that beyond all of that, it can be really hard.  I feel like I’m constantly in problem solving mode: How should we make this necklace?  Where do we find this clasp in Nairobi?  What should we do about the sad looking child who’s aunt is beating her for no good reason?  What about the footballer on our team who is spending some of the nights sleeping on the ground in one of the small shops in Kibera because he has no home to go to?  What do we say to the entrepreneurs in our business training program who think it’s impossible to save money because they cannot afford to buy food to feed their families?  What do you do when the carpenter has put a new door on the workshop and it’s completely the wrong size and you’re pretty sure a rat is going to crawl underneath but he insists it’s fine? (you set a mouse trap!)  Yesterday, I made the shocking discovery that half of our sewing team members are using different patterns and not tracing the patterns onto the fabric but rather just cutting around them.  And when I went to address this, everyone was just staring at me.  Sometimes it’s just a lot, and so I really appreciate these quiet mornings.  I have to sit here and reflect on the fact that God is in control, and I’m not.  I can pray, and I can do my best, but I cannot fix everything.

On a happy note, we had a hilarious laugh that one of our volunteers hung her towel to dry outside the workshop on this pipe looking tube.  She thought it was something for the rain.  Edwin had to tell her that in fact it is the “chimney” that airs out the stench from the outhouse toilet!  Suffice it to say that the towel now has a suffocating smell!

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