Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dorothy and Karama and Dreams Coming True

This story is about Dorothy, and about Karama.  And about Mother's Day too.  Don't worry, it will all make sense.

(in front)

I met Dorothy back in 2001, when she was a student in my fifth grade, and then sixth grade class at HOPAC.  I loved that class and all of us got very close.  

Dorothy was bubbly and radiant and I loved that when I was her teacher, she would write me long notes and schedule lunch meetings with me where she would pour out her 11-year-old soul.

(in center, sixth grade)

(10th grade and Grace, age 2)

When we returned to Tanzania in 2005, Gil became her Bible teacher for all of high school.  She was one of Grace's main baby-sitters and Gil was her basketball and soccer coach.

(far bottom right)

She was also a part of our youth group and she attended our summer camps.  Basically, she couldn't get away from us.  Like many of our students, she felt like our own kid in a lot of ways.  We had the privilege of watching her grow into an incredible young woman.  

(sitting to my right)
In 2009, we got to see her graduate from high school and she went off to college in the States on a big scholarship.

Gil and I visited Dorothy (on the right) and Aishi (whom we also love) in Minnesota during their freshman year of college.  

Dorothy graduated last year and started praying about where God was going to take her next.  

She knew she loved Jesus.  She knew she loved Tanzania.  She knew that God had given her the precious gift of a college education, which very, very few Tanzanians receive, and that she had a unique dual understanding of both African and American perspectives.  

Meanwhile, back in Tanzania, one of our good friends, Dyan, started a non-profit organization called Karama a number of years ago.  Karama is dedicated to helping women develop micro-enterprise skills and helping them sell their products to women in the west.  It is entirely and completely fair trade, and works to improve women's standard of living while maintaining their dignity.  Any additional profits go directly toward sponsoring African teens to attend Young Life camps.  

They sell amazing stuff, don't they?

A couple of months ago, Dorothy called me to say that she had been hired to work full-time with Karama.  She would be working with women all over Africa.   

I was happier than a bird with a French Fry.  Perfect for her because she loves Jesus and Africa.  Perfect because she understands American fashion and African social issues and she studied political science and business.  She couldn't be more perfect for the job.

Our prayer for our students over the years has always been that they would love Jesus and love Africa.  We knew that it wouldn't be true for all of them, but we sure hoped it would characterize a lot of them.  

So the joining of Dorothy with Karama is a dream come true for us and for her.  And I think God delights in doing that.

And since we're on the subject of Karama, and since Mother's Day is right around the corner, why not check out this amazing website-store?  Want to help African women?  Want to give your Mom a really unique gift you won't find anywhere else?  

Here's your link:

And just in case you're not convinced yet, here are a few samples I stole from the site:

I've got you hooked, don't I?  What are you waiting for?  Visit Karama!  And praise God that He continues to work in our students' lives.  

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