Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday sewing machine update

With the donations that I’ve received so far, we’ve been able to purchase two new machines for Umuregwa, or Mama Joyce, as she’s known in the market.  
My professor from the 2012 trip abroad recently returned to Rwanda and was kind enough to bring the money recently raised with her.  She gave it to our tour guide, Yván, and he visited Musanze and Mama Joyce on November 16th.  I appreciate beyond words how helpful and trustworthy Yván is because I’ve not received such a complete update on what has been happening there for her in a while.  Communication is difficult being such a distance apart, speaking different languages.  Here’s what he had to report.
Last spring Mama Joyce’s daughter was sick and in the hospital for two months, which kept her from the market.  The cooperative that was started soon after I was in Rwanda fell apart and the second woman I bought the machine for, who was her partner, went back to working in the market place independently.  It sounds like it was a stressful and disappointing time for these women.  Mama Joyce told Yván that she didn’t trust other women in the market place because they had been on their own so long, it is hard for them to comprehend working collectively.  She told my trusted tour guide that what she would like to do is bring in women with no experience with sewing to avoid these problems in the future.  Going forward, Mama Joyce will be training new partners to sew and they will grow together – being more loyal to their cooperative because it’s where they gotten their start.  After buying two more machines together, Yván left her in charge of finding the women and implementing the cooperative.  He is planning monthly visits to keep abreast of what is happening and will then be in contact with me about their progress. 
I feel confident that with this new start, their cooperative is going to take off.  Interaction between here and there will be easier now that Yván is involved again as a translator. 

Thank you to everyone who donated thus far.  Tell your friends about this endeavor and have a blessed Thanksgiving and Hanukkah week.


  1. Fantastic! I'll be going back in April and may squeeze in a visit to Musanze. I'm happy to deliver any additional donations then, too!


    "The Professor" ;-)