A round-up of some of the exciting things to cross my desk in the last week:
1. Empowering Women at CIFORD – I finished making a video (with Boyd’s narration!) about this great community organization, which we visited last summer. Spirit in Action, with support from the Charles Wentz Carter Memorial Foundation, awarded CIFORD a grant to hold more girl’s empowerment workshops this year!
2. Community Involvement in Uganda – This article tells an encouraging story about a conference that (gasp!) included local leaders in the discussion about rural electrification, access to capital, women in business, and access to technology for youth. “While the panel topics were nothing new for a ‘development’ conference, the panelists were not your usual invitees. They included primary school students, village brick makers, local farmers, and young “tinkerers” who had built their own home-made radio.” Full article here: Uganda: Villages in Action Bringing Poor People’s Voices to the Forefront
3. New digital camera made it safely to Malawi – Canaan Gondwe, Small Business Fund leader, wrote, ”Tanya, We are overwhelmed with the performance of this new camera. We are witnessing quality pics. Connecting them to computer and importing them is also easy.” We can look forward to many more photos of the exciting progress in Manyamula Village!
4. News from Balayiro Women’s Self-Help Group – I got a wonderful letter in the mail from this thriving group in Kenya. They received a small cash grant to buy local seeds for the group. “We prepared the seeds in the seedbed. Luckily enough there was moderate rainfall and warm weather. Now we are expecting a good harvest! Traditionally, in Luhya community, farmers do save the indigenous seeds from year to year in crop recycling method, covering them with ashes from the burned firewood.” They grew:
Jute Plant – A leafy green, rich in betacarotene, iron, calcium, and vitamin C, eaten with Ugali (maize meal).
Spider Plant – The leaves, stems, pods, and flowers can all be cooked and eaten. The leaves are bitter, but the bitterness can be bleached out with boiling water. A group of farmers are growing this plant in Minnesota for the Kenyan diaspora here!
Black Nightshade – This nightshade is not poisonous, as we tend to imagine here in the West. The barriers and the leafy greens are eaten and are highly nutritious.
5. Quote on compassion – (from a women’s retreat I attended last weekend): “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant wit the weak and wrong…because sometime in your life you will have been all of these.”
P.S. Save the Date – May 5th Celebrate Spirit in Action’s “Sweet Sixteen” Anniversary! We booked the Islandia Clubhouse in Alameda, CA and I began pulling out some of the silent auction items that we brought back from Africa! More details to come soon.