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  • Writer's pictureLily

Maria’s Workshop

The workshop and our women’s program is a special project for me. It’s not only the place of dreams and new beginnings for bartered, abused and oppressed women out here in the villages of Uganda, but it’s also in honor of my late mother and the role model she was for my siblings and I. An example I want to show these women and they can show their children.

My mother was a remarkable homemaker most of her life. Before she married my father she used to work as a seamstress, back in Romania. It’s actually one of the many things she had in common with my father. Growing up though, we always went to mom for anything and everything, especially for sewing. Even if I could do it myself, there was something special in asking mom to do it for me. I miss those moments. I miss her. I think back and wish I’d relished the moments more. That I’d sat next to her and just chatted while she was sewing. But time is a fickle thing and life happens. Death comes unexpectedly and completely changes our lives. I see so many women here that have lost someone I'd consider dear. Parent, husband, child. I see the way they just continue about life, as if that said person never existed. It's natural, death. It's a part of life. But I've never encountered so many people that don't talk about or acknowledge it. Patience, a widow with 5 children, lost her husband last year. He was a drunk that didn't add much value to her life or her children (her words). I asked her one day if she missed him and she said no. I asked her if she'd every remarry, and she said no. I asked her why, and she said because she has never been happier in life than now that her husband is dead.

I was and still am baffled. To lose someone as significant as a spouse and to be happy about it is something I don't emotionally comprehend. Logically I get it. Who would want to live a life of constant unknown variables? Who would sign up to a life commitment of having a drunk, abusive spouse? I wouldn't do it. But even so, there are women out here that are on their last strand of hope. Stuck in places and situations they have no control over. I've had countless encounters with women that have told me I am their last hope. It's hard for me to understand what they've been and still go through. I feel burdened some times because I am one person and I can't change their lives on my own. I love them dearly and do want to give them all that they may need, but reality doesn't work that way. I'm so excited for the progress of our workshop and cannot wait to have the women start training. This won't fix everything in their lives, but it will make it all better.

I know I say it often but I'm so grateful to God for answering my prayers and requests. I've learned that taking it all to Him works greater miracles than anything I could ever do on my own. I'm thankful for people like David, and so many others, who stepped out of his comfort zone in America and came out here to help us finish the Workshop. This place is not just about financial gain, profit or even vocational training. It's so much greater! This project will help these women find their zeal for life, their dreams fulfilling, and their passions coming alive. I want them to realize they are worth more then diamonds and rubies in the eyes of our heavenly Father.

"First time experience in a third world country. Poverty everywhere you look. The village that we visited, Bugira, small but beautiful. The people are extremely friendly and welcoming. Pictures and videos that I've seen before of third world countries don't compare to the reality. Children and adults without shoes, dirty worn out clothing on them, and cracked skin. Adults and kids with little or no education. Kids in town without any parental guidance, all sorts of sicknesses and no medical help. Tears you to pieces when you just stay, look and think about it.

I am so spoiled back at home that I don't even realize how some people are living in other parts of the world. Seems like if I'm doing good, everyone else must be too. I feel like you just get distracted with everyday life to think about anything else most of the time. My sole purpose of coming was to help with the construction projects, but I got a lot more our of it then even giving. I'm hoping to continue helping in the future. I can't forget this experience because it was nice and overall wonderful. It opened my eyes to so much." ~ David, volunteer from Missouri

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