A Christmas Market Fundraiser!

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Yesterday, I spent the afternoon creating a collage sign.
Today, that sign was out on the annual Christmas market down in the village: I, and a few other students set up a booth there, so we could get in touch witht the locals a little. We sold cotton candy, handmade soap, and handmade paper-beed necklaces. New for me: It isn’t often that you get to make cotton candy or see so many people in one spot around here!

The money raised from the soap and the necklaces will sponsor a group of young mothers in Uganda, to help them learn a trade and to support their families. They are learning things like sewing and gardening and soap making. Their lives are often times very hard, but they have hope, because they will be able to stand on their own feet someday. My mom is in direct contact with them and works with the local leaders. Check out the her blog to read more about this project:

http://teenmopsuganda.blogspot.de/

Now, a few hours later, I’m in my room with a hot cup of tea and a blanket. Christmas market work leaves you cold!
I wish you a great weekend, and that you get to try something new! :)

Back Home: Work, and a Lesson in Gratitude

It’s Spring Break, so I’m visiting my parents for 3 weeks. I’m staying in the new guest room (which used to be my room) and I have my own little desk to work at. Since I need to do some illustration work, the desk is fully occupied by my graphic tablet and the laptop.

My parents have a big garden and I love to help take care of it when I’m there. So yesterday I spent the morning by cutting back plants and burning the dead stuff in the fire. There’s more to do, but I think I cleared about 300m² (about 3200ft²) of surface :)

The illustrations for my current project are progressing well. I have 3 done, 7 to go. I’m really enjoying all the colors :)

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My mom and I will be going to Albania on thursday, for 4 days. She is a leader in a local MOPS-group (mothers of pre-schoolers) here in Heidelberg and there is a MOPS-conference in Tirana (the capitol of Albania). I’m just along for the ride. We might see the art museum and the history museum, as well as the coast. It will be fun!

All of this stuff is really cool, but I am also humbled by it, because I am reminded that none of it can be taken for granted:
As a leader in MOPS, my mom is in contact with other group leaders, including one leader in Uganda. The lady in Uganda leads a group of single teen moms in Kampala, as well as a group in a small village. They are among the poorest of the country. Most of their houses don’t have electricity or running water, and many women have never learned to read or to speak English. The lack of hygiene leads to many diseases, and people die of things like diharrea or malaria. By German or American standards, they have nothing.
But their leader is coming here in June, and my mom is going to train her how to garden and make mosquito repellent soap. The leader will then teach her group these skills, so they can have acess to soap, sell some of it, and supplement their diet with vegetables.
What we consider “nothing special” can make all the difference for someone else!
And another thing is amazing: The group is making beeds and an African shirt for my mom, out of gratitude, and you can’t stop them from doing so. The poor are the most generous, they give even when they have nothing.
They are poor, but in their generosity and faith and love, they are rich.
I have high respect for these women and they are teaching me a lot, even if I have never met them before.

Where do you feel like life is tough? Where can you feel grateful? Where can you recognize a need in other people and support them? Those are the thoughts for now. Have a great day!