Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Bike

I only know one person who might rescue this bike from the dump, 
and he likely would fix it up better than what it is shown here. 
This bike is owned by our tailor, Theo. 
He says it gives him abdominal pains when he rides it. 
I see a lot of these bikes in this condition, rusting falling apart, and parts missing.

Wired together and smooth tires.
No pedals on the "holders" and more wire
A once beautiful leather seat cover!
Nice carrier with rubber straps to tie on purchases.
How many of you would go each day to and from work, about one hour ride one way, on this bike?

Monday, February 25, 2013

This Week Is Different

Today, we had 3 students show up in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. They can come this week for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They are allowed to work on anything they have that needs sewing. The last uniform, a dress, got finished today. And we sold about 6 uniforms now.  The teacher to the preschoolers dropped in, and said that those who came in their uniforms "looked smart" - a very high compliment!!! Also today we started with analyzing the machines for missing parts, and cleaning. We came upon some parts in the bottom of one of the stands, and proceeded to put them back where they should go.  Oh my goodness!!!! That was an ordeal I'd rather not do again, but learned more about the machine and how to take it apart and put it back together. Needless to say it will be easier next time - just hoping there is no next time!

Also tomorrow, we will be registering another 16 or more students, 4 have already registered. We may take more applications but will accept only 20, of course. Peter may get a chance to look at more of the machines, as he wasn't finished with them today.

Wednesday will be paying the students for the uniforms they made during the month of February. And fixing on more machines.

On Thursday, we plan a meeting with the team, Epi the translator, Alex (husband to Epi, and our main local member of the team), Theophile the teacher, and Peter and I. I'm hoping that we can decide on a schedule of what to teach when, a list I've written up due to hindsight of the first '6 month course' we just went through!!!

Friday we may pick up a few things to have on hand for the students first day on March 4th.  Very excited about starting a new course with new students. Hopefully it will be even better than the first time around!

God has been so good to us! We've gone through a few things I'd rather not have, but over all this is very rewarding to be here and doing this. So excited about the next 6 to 7 months of teaching sewing, and hopefully get something going with a production line of salable items.

Oh, I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for the rest of this year!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Finishing The Uniforms

Well, time has come to say, that we are very close to the end of making the uniforms!!!!
At this time there is one dress that needs some seams done on it and a button and buttonhole, and one shirt that needs buttonholes, buttons and a bow tie put on, and then they are finished!

On Thursday and Friday, the uniforms that were finished were washed and dried and then sorted in small, medium, and large, and are now ready to be sold to the preschool children - all 73 of them!!!
I truly never thought that they would be completed by the end of February but it was a very nice surprise. As soon as they are bought, we will be paying the students for the work that they did according to what they accomplished. The students did anywhere from one item to 5 items.

As of right now, we have no plans to start a production line. We need more machines for that, and we are thinking about starting with about 4 - 6 machines when we do that.

Pray with us that God will give us clear direction in how to start and go about this. We have always visualized that we would teach students to sew and then help them with producing sale-able items - here and abroad.

There is a need to start with 20 more students, who will be registering on Tues, Feb. 26th, and start classes on Mar. 4th.  There is an excitement in the area - going to as far as 1 1/2 hour ride away - to come to take this course! That amazes me - I'm humbled to know that God placed us here to do what has happened in the last 7 months - OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!! We, of course, will take students that live close, and look at plans about neighboring communities for the future.

I'm very excited about the classes starting again. This time we won't be just plunging into it, as I have laid out a schedule that in this week will be scrutinized by our team! Peter will be looking into the machines and seeing about replacing some worn out parts and getting parts that are missing. (Some parts had been missing from the used machines that were given to us, but were still usable.)

Below are some pictures - and as soon as all the children have their uniforms, I'm hoping to get some class pictures of them wearing them!!!
Bringing them out to be washed
Getting started
More washing
And washing some more
and more
Using the neighbor's line
Friday morning - Peter and his moto driver - yes Peter's wearing a jacket and toque!
The pile of clean uniforms ready to be ironed and sorted into piles.
Small, medium and large - dresses and shirts & shorts!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lemon Grass Tea And Other Good Things

Alphonsine makes the best Lemongrass Tea!!! I get it most mornings (Peter drinks coffee) and we get it each evening.
This is the best of the 'good things', we have come to the end of cutting out uniforms. Some of the students are finished with their last uniform item, so I'll have to think of things for them to do in the next 6 days they have left!
I made a pin cushion. One like the red tomato pin cushion.
I filled it with these scraps from the uniforms, but I wasn't happy the way the pins didn't go in nicely. 
So I rolled some yarn into a ball the size that fit my cushion cover.
And I love the way the pins go in! Maybe this would be a good project for the students!!!!
 I got the pattern for the pin cushion here, (there are other places too) and here is where you can get the history of the tomato pin cushion which I found quite interesting!
I remember my Mom used to have one of these!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Conference This Weekend

Pastor Alex like to have weekend conferences to keep the people witnessing in the community. More people were reached this weekend and they didn't even go very far from the area. Friday and Saturday they do 'door to door' and then have an afternoon service. Peter went on Fri and Sat. I stayed at the sewing school on Fri. and stayed home on Sat. The pictures below are from today. The church was full and the speakers were great!
These were the first time attenders for the service today.
These three men were the guest speakers - originally from Kenya, but working in Kigali.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Uniforms are starting to pile up and More

We have more than half the uniforms sewn.
Alphonsine was grinding 'Ground nuts" - peanuts for meals when we got home yesterday.

Once ground they are made into a sauce for green bananas, or potatoes or rice! Very tasty!

Sewing Kits

Some of you have been asking about needs for the sewing school.

One of the things that I've been trying to get the students to collect is, the items needed in a sewing kit.
We teach them to make their own bags to hold the items, but they don't have access to some of these items in the community they live in. And to travel to a bigger center takes time and money.
I'd like to see them get:
 - a measuring tape (I don't see good quality tapes here.)
 - a pair small scissors for cutting thread at the sewing machine.
 - seam ripper (they have no problem using a straight razor - which is okay)
 - straight pins - they just sew without them, but sometimes you need them.
 - a couple of hand sewing needles (the ones that are for sale here are more like the ones your grandmother used to darn your socks!)
 - safety pins (1 or 2)
 - we teach them to make a small pin cushion - "the stuffing" for it is something I haven't seen here though!

The best is to bring it over yourself, or have it sent with someone that is coming. The shipping and insurance may be more than what you want to pay, but if you are sending something like that, you'd want it to get here!

Contact me if this is something that you'd like to do - we need to know that a package is coming or help  arrange to send with someone.

There are other needs too, but this one is one that lately some of you have been inquiring about.

Check also this website about - Sending Missionaries Parcels

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Christmas in February

We received some mail and parcels today. One Christmas card from my parents ( the second Christmas card this year) which included a tea bag. Yes, that's right, a tea bag- thankfully it was new. (A stand joke with my family and used tea bags). A letter from our prayer warrior Desire. A parcel from our son & family with a game and a FedEx parcel from my sister, filled with about 330 zippers and 47 patterns.
I am so excited and happy!!!!!
Pictures below of some of what we got.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


The uniforms are gradually being finished, 19 students = 19 dresses and 19 shirts & shorts.
We had a few ready to try on. 
We took a walk as a class, over to the preschool and had the children do a fitting.
These girls (9 - can't see them all) had uniform dresses to fit.
These 10 girls will have the dresses that are not quite finished and ready to try on.
These three were measured for dresses. A total of 22 girls in the 'Top Class'.
The nine boys in the 'Top Class' all had uniforms to fit!
This is the "Middle Class" there are 22 girls and 18 boys, all needing uniforms made for them.