Friday, December 18, 2015

Woman to Woman

Many of us would like to make a difference in our world. One woman has stepped forward and made her dream a reality by committing herself to improve the lives of woman in Burkina Faso,West Africa.
Meet Dawn Malcolm, an amazing, compassionate self-giving woman who tirelessly shares her time, talent and treasure with our ladies in Kimini.
Dawn teaching the ladies

Recently she spent time teaching the woman how to use the shea butter they produce to make both bar and liquid soap which they can sell in the market to earn money to help support themselves and their families.

Adding oils

I have not witnessed such pure joy and enthusiasm among the woman in a very long time!
Finished product

Ruth makes a purchase
Curious shoppers

Dawn, thanks for the hope you continue to bring to these sweet ladies.

" Whatever you did to least of my people, you did for me." Mt. 25:40

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Karité Nuts to Shea Butter


I am always in awe of the hard working Burkinabé women. Karité nuts used to make shea butter are abundant in our village of Kimini.Young children can be seen very early in the morning gathering the nuts during harvest season. 

That is just the beginning of the long, arduous process of producing the shea butter used in numerous beauty products worldwide. 
Boiling karité nuts
Roasting nuts in outdoor ovens

Grinding roasted nuts to extract the butter.

Butter is beaten by hand.

Testing  the consistency.

Women selling balls of shea butter for 5 francs which is about a penny a ball.

I never fail to be humbled by the strength and tenacity of these gentle women. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Coup D'Etat -Thumbnail Version

Burning Tire  Roadblock
It is difficult to summarize the events of this past week and even more difficult to describe the roller coaster ride of emotions they provoked.  Last Thursday September 17, the peace of this country was shaken by the overthrow of the transitional government by the RSP Military Guard led by Gen. Diendere.
Gen. Diendere

The interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Jacouba Zida were held hostage at the presidential palace. Roads were blocked, businesses closed, curfews issued and land and air borders secured.

President Kafando
Yesterday after long negotiation, the transitional government lead by Michel Kafando has been reinstated. Diendere has accepted responsibility for his actions and has agreed to face the consequences and has stated regret for the loss of life and property.

Sweeping Streets 

As for now, word is that elections have been moved to
November 22.
The Burkinabe were out last night sweeping the streets and slowly things are returning to normal. You can sense the air of relief that the much greater tragedy was averted. 

Proud People of Burkina Faso
Through it all we remained safe in our quiet neighborhood far away from the events of the coup.

May God continue to hold the country of Burkina Faso in the palm of his hand through the transition and election period.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Brick By Brick

There has been much activity in our little area of Kimini lately. The construction of the maternity building is well underway. It is amazing to watch the process from brick making to wall raising.
Encouraging the builders
I just wanted to share the experience. So here is a little photo story .
Foundation and iron for reinforced concrete

Bricks turn into walls
Working on front wall
"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. "PSALMS 127:1

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy Trails

The red roads in out of the Kimini area leave much to be desired on a good day. The rainy season makes traveling them even more exciting. Yesterday we left for a short trip to Folonzo, a village just about 35 kl from Kimini. My memory of previous trips during the dry season included numerous deep ruts and rough terrain. Send in the rainy season and all that takes on new thrills. Roads get washed out, ruts fill with water and mud abounds. Driving through the small lakes makes for an adventurous ride! You never know just how deep those holes are. So you just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Six Flags has new competition in Burkina !
Always new reasons to appreciate our wonderful truck !

The trip was well worth the effort though. We met seven deserving children who would each love to have a sponsor to help keep them in school and care about them.

Seraphine Ouattara
Meet Seraphine Ouattara. She is an impressive petite15 year old girl. Her father passed away when she was just two years old. She lives in the village of Folonzo with her mother, older brother and two younger siblings. During the school year she attends a Catholic boarding school in Mangodora where she will be in the eighth grade this year (2015-2016).She is a good student and hopes to become a math professor some day. 

You can be the one to make her dream come true. It is possible for less than the price of a daily cup of coffee. I would be happy to explain the simple steps of sponsorship to you if you feel you can help. 

Before leaving Folonzo Pastor Ibrahim brought us to meet the village chief and explain the purpose of our visit.He was very grateful and graciously welcomed us back.
Pastor Ibrahim, Folonzo Chief and Ruth

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Busy Days

    It has often been said, “Busy hands are happy hands”. Ruth and I can attest to the truth of that phrase. Our days have been filled with visits from villagers needing assistance as well as extending gratitude.
We were able to share gifts of blankets and onesies, which were donated to our “Burkina Babies” through the generosity of friends back home. Adding our needs to shower gifts for new “Baby Stankiewicz” has brought a global dimension to that shower in the Berkshires. We are SO grateful.
Baby Mariam

New baby Mariam whose mama died shortly after her birth was one of our first recipients.

Ruth reads a letter to Djata Sogodogo

 We were able to share letters with sponsored children. The whole family shares the joy of hearing from sponsors

The need for new sponsors is ever present. Each day the list increases.
Wahaba Sankara

Some children like Wahaba Sankara have been waiting a long time to find a sponsor. He lives in Nonfesso with his ten siblings. He will be in the seventh grade this year (2015-2016) and would love to be able to stay in school.If you have ever thought about sponsorship maybe you would consider Wahaba.

Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Aisha has returned to her family in Kimini this week after spending almost a year at Sheltering Wings Orphanage in Yako.Her extended family was unable to care for after the death of her mother. Now that she is older and thriving due to the wonderful care received there she has returned to her family in the village. The tenderness displayed by her paternal grandfather was quite touching.

A trip to McDonald’s in Banfora is always a treat. Though the African restaurant does not offer “happy meals”, I left feeling happy after enjoying a tasty hamburger, fries and a coke.

So now I am bolstered to face many more busy days.