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7 Weeks to Go!

Just typing that gives me butterflies in my stomach. This next trip seemed so far away in February. How quickly time flies! IMG_2761

We haven’t posted in a while, as agendas and details are still being put into place. The good news is that we now have accommodations for our trip (thank you, Gogo Carol!). And we are thrilled that part of our trip will include staying with the New Hope Center in Manzini. If you aren’t familiar with them, hop on out to their website. We will have the privilege of spending time with the beautiful children they have adopted into their home, hearing stories and sharing our knowledge with them. DfG Kits will be distributed to the surrounding communities  as well. 

Our trip will consist of our team spending 3 days at a the Bush Fire Festival alongside Gone Rural. We understand that this is the largest festival in Africa and attracts 25,000 visitors from 60 countries. We aren’t 100% sure what to expect – other than a lot of talking, perhaps blisters on our feet and going through a lot of business cards! We think it may be a combination of Bumpershoot, Edmonds Arts Festival and the Bite of Seattle (all on steroids)? Does that actually exist? We’ll find out. The only thing, for sure, that we know at this point in time is that it is a blessing to have the opportunity to share with others about the important work we do. God has given us this gift. So, we’ll wear comfortable shoes, bring lots of water and pray for connections to be made. He’ll take care of the rest.

We go straight from the Bush Fire Festival to our DfG University training with Diva. Diva is traveling down from Uganda to conduct the micro-enterprise training for us and we couldn’t be happier! So far, we have 4 NGO’s joining in the training. Can you believe it? God is so good. The week will consist of sewing skills, basic business & marketing skills training, as well as our Ambassador of Women’s Health training. I’ve been getting myself up to speed on the sewing skills piece (as most of you know, I am not an expert sewist). Actually, let’s face it, I’m just not a sewist. But no worries, friends! I’ll be ready.

The latter part of our trip will be our distributions. As always, we will take as many kits as we can get into our bags and know that we will have just enough for those that need it for this trip.  We are trusting the Lord to open doors and we know He will!

On a more personal note, Rachael is getting excited. I couldn’t be prouder of her. She volunteered to do our daily morning devotions, which will stretch her and allow her to grow in a spiritual way. She’s going to gain leadership skills and I know her heart will be touched as well. I’m looking forward to having this special time with her, sharing experiences and stories later on with one another. I’m trying hard to allow this to be her experience and not mine (I’ll have my own experience to take away). I’m coaching and preparing, yet trying to step aside and leave room for her to make this her own. She’s a little afraid of the unknown and to be traveling to a new country. But she’s moving through it and not allowing it to stop her. I couldn’t be more proud!

Well, the sun has decided to shine here in Edmonds, WA. And that’s a big deal! We have had so much rain this year. I’ll sign off for now and catch a little vitamin D while I can get it. More to come… thank you for following our journey.

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On our way in May!

Well, I never would have guessed 2 weeks ago when my plane landed back in Seattle from my first Swaziland trip that I would be booking a flight back in May. It’s funny how those unexpected surprises can fill your heart with so much joy. That’s what happened to me. I realized once the plan was set to go back that my heart was overflowing with joy and the smile on my face was larger than life! Of course I had to go back. Part of my heart was left behind.

I traveled across the world to a different country, knowing that what I would see and experience would change women and girls’ lives. What I hadn’t expected was for them to change me. I knew I wouldn’t look at the world, my world, in the same way again. But I didn’t expect to love the Swazi’s so much! I didn’t expect the tears to fall when I left the last distribution with the GoGos. I didn’t expect to have so many doors open for us so quickly.

The Edmonds WA and Snoqualmie Chapters for Days for Girls traveled to Swaziland to distribute 650 DfG Kits and to conduct women’s health training (which is just as important as the kit itself). Three wonderful women from Snoqualmie were headed back for their 7th trip and me, my first. It was an adventure, including monkeys, bugs, mosquitos, and ant infestations.

We distributed to 4 schools and with 4 groups of GoGos (grandmas). Some were connected with Timbali Crafts, Gone Rural, and YWAM. Each, unique in and of itself. Yet, there was one common thread – they all desperately needed the kits and were extremely grateful. We experienced confirmation that we need to bring health, dignity and education to the rural communities in Swaziland. We also received confirmation that there were opportunities for us to teach these talented, beautiful women how to sew our kits to give them employment opportunities. If they can sew handbags and weave baskets, they can sew our kits! So, the conversations began. Unexpected and unplanned connections were made. And… here is where it began.

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We came back to emails requesting that we come back in May, in time for Swaziland’s Bush Fire Festival. We’ll raise awareness at this festival, conduct DfG University training for 4 different groups of women and distribute kits, once again. The really amazing piece? My daughter, Rachael, gets to go with me. She’s 13 and she is the reason I started the Edmonds WA Chapter. She asked me 3 1/2 years ago what women and girls do for product if they can’t afford to buy it. I didn’t have an answer. But, together, we found one. We started our local DfG Chapter and have distributed thousands of disposable feminine hygiene products to the local schools and hundreds (nearly a thousand) of our washable kits both globally and locally. This will be an amazing trip for the two of us.

Rachael is fundraising for her trip. She’s taken some of the photos I took in Swaziland on my last trip and made them into note cards.  She’s selling them, by donation. If you’d like to donate, reach out to us on our Contact page. It’s an easy way to help (and the cards turned out beautiful). Here is her GoFundMe page if you’d like to donate directly: https://www.gofundme.com/the-swaziland-project-dfg.

We are feeling blessed to be a blessing~

April