Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cecilia Katunga of Kenya

In August I went to Kenya to do a three-day communications training. Of course I used that opportunity to buy exciting new items for Up from the Dust. I also made my first trip to Rwanda and bought items from there as well.

But there was one meeting that caused me to break into sobs--sobs of happiness.

I was hosted by Cecilia Katunga at her new home. If you remember, Cecilia's home in the Mukuru Fuatanyayo slum of Nairobi was burned in March of this year. I asked you, my friends, on this list if you could spare $20-$50 to help Cecilia. We sent a total of $750 to Cecilia and that was enough money for her to get out of the slums, and rent a new room.

Actually her new home is two rooms. Orphaned at 13, Cecilia, age 25, still supports a brother and sister who live with her.

Cecilia was so excited to greet us. (My friends Eva and Joe went with me. Eva helped support Cecilia in setting up her knitting business about four years ago). Cecilia was dressed up and couldn't get the smile off her face. She served us tea and buttered bread. They had been on a blackout all day but she was still cheery. (Would we be after a day without electricity?) When Eva said grace before we enjoyed our tea and bread, I just started sobbing. What does $20 mean to us? $50? So little--yet by 10-20 people sending in small amounts of money, Cecilia now has a new life.

I was overwhelmed by how happy she was and what a difference we made in her life. She told Eva, "When I heard from Mary Schnack that she was wiring the money, I was no longer a fire victim."

I bought more scarves from Cecilia (red, black, brown, maroon, white, peach, light green) and two darling baby outfits--one pink and one blue. She has also moved her knitting machines out of Kenyatta Market into her home. Please go online and support her business by buying her products!

Cecilia is so thrilled with her new home, the extra space, the sense of community around her and she said it is a much safer place to live.

1 comment:

Monica Smiley said...

What a wonderful, heart-warming story, Mary!