Meet Our Friend Venancia

unnamed

Venancia is a Rwandan refugee who sews for Amani Kenya

Tell us about yourself…

“I come from Rwanda. I am 34 and have been married for 8 years. My prayer is that one day God will bless us with children.

I will be very happy.”
 –
 
Describe a typical day for you!
“I wake up at 6:00 am. I clean my house, take a bath and leave for work at Amani. I ride on 2 different matatus (buses) to and from work. After work, I get back home. Then, I prepare food for dinner and by 7:30 pm, we retire to bed.”
 
unnamed-1
 How long have you worked here?
 –
“Two years.”
 –
unnamed-2
– 
 
What products do you make?
– 
 “Some of my products are the Tamaduni Satchel, Travel Tote, and Coin Purse. Also the Safari and Kanga Coin Purses as well as the Kanga Wallet.”
 –
Here’s just of few of Venancia’s handicrafts!
 
unnamed-3

unnamed-4

Tamaduni Satchel, $28

unnamed-5

Kanga Wallet, $20

unnamed-6

Kanga African Coin Purse, $10

What does peace mean to you?

“Peace is loving and understanding one another. Being able to live in harmony with one another regardless of where they come from.”

unnamed-7

What is your favorite bible verse?

“. . .I was pouring out my soul to the Lord”
1 Samuel 1:10-15

Shop Amani. Spread Peace.

An Update on Rahab

Elizabeth and Rahab

Elizabeth and Rahab, Mother and daughter!

For the last year, Rahab of Nairobi, Kenya has been fighting breast cancer. 
IMG-20150818-WA0005
You might remember her  2013 story of heartbreak, triumph, and her jewelry business (click here to read).
Last month she finished chemotherapy and will soon begin radiation. Check out a few highlights from our recent interview with Rahab.
.
On Faith: “My thoughts of God are very different since chemo treatment. I realize how much He loves me and how much people love me. There is a reason why things happen. I passed through this to give others strength.”

Rahab at work on her beads!

Rahab at work on her beads!

.
On Work:
“I’m excited to get back to work, to create new designs. I love to work,  it was hard when I didn’t have any energy to make jewelry during my chemo treatment. I was always tired.  I just had to depend on others to help me get through.  While it was hard living on one income my husband provided faithfully through his 2nd hand clothing business.
.
Rehab with her daughter, Cecile

Rehab with her daughter, Cecile

.
On Family:
“I’m excited about devoting more time to the family. I hope to get back to normal life after being sick all the time, couldn’t do much of anything around the house and had to depend on my husband, children, and family members.  I feel great! I feel normal. I am not sick or getting tired quickly.  I want to be able to go to the market and do shopping for the family.”
.
On the Future: “Encouraging others is how I have come to use my experience. I see so many coming to the hospital with cancer…(just) as the Amani family was there for me, counseling is something I can do for others.”
.
Rahab is a survivor of breast cancer. Cancer is on the rise in Kenya. Rahab found that she was not alone in the increasing numbers of those  who find themselves as cancer  victims in this part of the world. She was one of hundreds facing the odds of surviving breast cancer just 10 months ago. Rahab went through chemo with courage and determination. As a woman facing breast cancer in Kenya she decided early on that she would not let this define who she was as a woman but rather her faith and courage.
 .
Rahab made a surprise visit to Amani last week, glowing and happy for where God had brought her on her journey. She proudly brought a bag of her handmade jewelry, the 1st jewelry delivery in 6 months, happy to be in business again. Amani immediately bought all she had knowing that the Amani family would 100% want to support her on her journey of healing. Check out Rahab’s bracelets and buy one or two for yourself or a friend as a way of standing with her in her courage and healing.
 .
Rahab starts radiation treatment in a couple of weeks. It will last for 16 – 25 days, everyday. She feels ready for it.
.

How can you help? 

1) Pray. Rahab begins radiation next week. She feels ready for it but would love your prayers for strength.

unnamed-6

2) Donate. Donors have assisting in Rahab’s treatment. Even if her journey with cancer is nearing it’s end, other Amani women have similar needs. Gifts to the Emergency Fund provide support for basic needs in unexpected crisis.

unnamed-5

3) Shop. Stand with Rahab—support her business!

unnamed-4

Bottle Bead Brass Bracelets

Metallic & Turquoise Bracelets

Metallic & Turquoise Bracelets

 

 Shop Rahab’s jewelry now!

II Corinthians 1:3 & 4   “…the Father of all compassion… comforts us in all of our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.”
 

9 Pretty Little Purses & Beautiful Bags

Allie and Amelia modeling our pretty little purses & beautiful bags.

These two are the brains behind Repeat PR-–they’ve been helping us with some fabulous projects!

All ethically made by women in Africa!

unnamed

Safari Mini Cross Body Bag, $22

unnamed-1

Kenya Jute Clutch, $28

unnamed-2

Safari Mini Cross Body Bag, $22

unnamed-3

Tamaduni Satchel, $28

unnamed-4

Mini Messenger Bag, $22

Be sure to snag the perfect bag from our Safari Line!

unnamed Safari Drawstring Bag, $48

unnamed-5

   Safari Rugged Tote, $48

Check out the latest addition to our Original Patch Line

unnamed-6

Original Patch Zipper Tote, $52

(With Black Strip)

unnamed-7

Original Patch Zipper Tote, $52

(Regular)

Shop Amani. Spread Peace.

amaniafrica.org

Meet the Intern: Hannah

IMG_2001

Name: Hannah Waggoner

School and Degree: The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Undergraduates degree in Business Marketing and minoring in Fine Arts.

Role at Amani: I am the Marketing Intern at Amani ya Juu. I work closely with the Marketing Director, Emily, to research and write blog posts, manage social media posts, research promotion opportunities, and assist in various warehouse tasks.

How did you hear about Amani ya Juu? Amani came into my life at the perfect time. I call it a God thing. I saw a post about Amani on Social Media from a local coffee shop here in Chattanooga called the Camphouse and just instantly feel in love with Amani and everything they do and stand for.

Fair Trade

Peace from Above

Sewing/ Reconciliation program

Handmade African products

Purpose and Mission-minded

I am in love with all of it.

Hobbies: Sewing and designing are probably one of my very favorite things to do. I am currently making custom clothes and accessories for my business HanMade Maker. I’ve made everything from bridesmaid dresses, to dressy/ every day dresses, shirts, skirts, backpacks, bowties, neckties, and etc. I just recently made my first ever Menswear collared shirt. It was definitely a challenge but thank the Lord that I love challenges. This is what I dream about doing! But we’ll see where the Lord leads me.

Here are some of my recent designs I’ve made.

FullSizeRender-6

FullSizeRender-3

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender-2

FullSizeRender-7

FullSizeRender-5

I also love anything that requires me to be outside. Hiking/ walking, biking, swimming, etc. I love it all, really.

Coffee and Juice/smoothies are life to me. I’m obsessed. So I enjoy going to local coffee shops and just spending time with the ones that I love.

What made you want to intern at Amani Chattanooga? Everything about Amani ya Juu feels like home. Every time that I walk into work I feel so welcomed and loved. I love when work doesn’t really feel like work because you just love doing it so much and that’s how I feel about interning at Amani. I enjoy it! When God introduced me to Amani I knew I had to call and find out everything I could about Amani and what this amazing fair trade nonprofit was about. When I found out it is for the women in Africa, I knew I had to be a part. I love missions and I love purpose driven jobs so I knew instantly that I had to be a part of Amani somehow whatever it looked like. I am beyond thankful that I get to intern at a place like Amani Chattanooga. I am so excited to see what is to come!

Favorite Amani product: Goodness! This one is a hard one. I want to say all of them but I’ll have to say the Maridi Pocket Dress because it was my first purchase. The fabric is out of this world, the colors emerald and ruby are just so unique, and the quality of how it’s made is just so incredible. The women who sew all the of products for Amani really truly know what they are doing. They can sew!

FullSizeRender-8

5 Stunning Amani Family Weddings

10345576_849222315125930_1715998151795960366_n

The Amani family has celebrated so many weddings this year! Check out some highlights. Hannah and MC Beautiful bride Hannah wore a dress of her own design! Hannah is a former Amani Liberia Country Director. She is also the designer behind much of … Continue reading

Meet the Women: Christine

d68846f6-3893-4399-b024-dac5fea98d5a

Meet Christine

One of the many ladies of Amani ya Juu
“I have a husband and five children. I came to Amani ya Juu to better my life. I do this for my family. “
.
.
.
Watch the video to hear more from Christine!
Christine's Video
..
.How to get involved:
.
.
.
.
.
Did you check out Margaret’s Interview last month ?
.
.
Click to Watch
Mararget's Video
.
.
.
.
.
Check out Monica’s Video 
.
.
Click to Watch
Monica's Video
.
.
.
.
.
.
Three of the many handmade products:
.
.
  untitledJuly-21-2015-25
..
.
unnamed-1
.
.
.
 untitledJuly-21-2015-14

Shailaja Samosa Recipe—Kenyan Style

samosa4

A samosa is a triangular savory pastry fried in oil, containing spiced vegetables or meat. This treat originated in India, but it has become very popular in many other parts of the world—especially in East Africa! Check out our recipe for these … Continue reading

How Africa Inspired Tiny House Living

10805744_10205320171102899_6729587938021241705_n

Lindsay Weaver has been an intern with Amani for the past six months. She also lives in a tiny house with her husband Jeremy, who runs a tiny house building business. Recently they were featured on an episode of Tiny House Nation. Lindsay contributes a lot of her desire to go tiny to her experiences while living in Tanzania. Here is her story…..

When I was 14, my father surprised the whole family by telling us that we were going to be traveling to East Africa that summer. I had no idea what to expect other than what I had read in books or seen on tv. What would it be like? What kinds of animals would I see, and would I like the food? For three weeks my family traveled all around Kenya and parts of Northern Tanzania. We bonded with new friends, and took home sights, sounds, and smells that we would never forget. I wrote in my journal that “I vowed to return to these places again one day”.

It would be 15 years before I would return. And this time I would be coming back with my husband and staying for four months. My husband Jeremy and I were in a Masters program that had a required field rotation in Tanzania. We couldn’t have been more excited. Jeremy was itching to return as well because he had lived in Zambia for a year as a student missionary and traveled to many other countries on the continent.

Hisilicon K3

A little village that sat on the edge of the Ngorogoro crater called Endabash became our new home. We lived with a local family in a little 8×8 room.  About 15 people ranging from 18months to 70 years old lived in this house. It was perfect. More and more we realized we needed less and less. We ate the same thing at every meal, wore the same thing everyday until it was dirty (or smelly), and were surrounded by people who cared about us and we cared about them. Our every need was met and then some.

When we returned to the States, we wanted to make sure that we could carry over this lifestyle of living with less to experience more. Some friends of ours had built a tiny house, were thriving in it and the lifestyle that comes with living in one. We loved how this movement had taken off and many a times had played around with the idea of “going tiny” ourselves. But now we were going to commit to it. Jeremy and his friend Travis took it a step further and decided to start a business building tiny homes called Wind River Tiny Homes. Little did we know what would transpire from stepping out in faith, trusting Gods direction, and going tiny.

11703149_1616414091931944_2734395773417059754_n

Wind River received an email from a production company in New York that produces a show called Tiny House Nation. They had seen one of Wind River’s previous builds and were curious if they had any upcoming builds they would like to be featured on one of their episodes. They replied back with a yes, and Jeremy mentioned that he had just purchased the trailer for our own tiny house. After a few skype interviews between My husband and I and the production company, we signed the papers and down came the film crew to Chattanooga. We weren’t planning on having a completed house until possibly a year later. We were going to be building it our selves in our spare time, bit by bit. Now we were going to have a completed house, inside and out, in one week! (Here’s the link to our episode: Nomad’s Nestthn7thn63IMG_5360

When going tiny you haven’t much space, so you need to make every inch of it count. Your house should function how you would use it the most. Jeremy and I wanted to be able to cook, relax, and reflect when at home. We wanted our house to be filled with all of our favorite items from our travels, primarily our things from Africa. The interior designers of the show captured these requests perfectly. They created a couch that 1. would fit my 6’6” husband and 2. filled it with pillows made out of our Masai fabrics. It was our dream home. All 276 square feet of it.

Weav+Livingroom211164681_1590316087875078_8400122135750085300_nthn61

When asked how we like living in a tiny house we say with hardy smiles that we adore it. Our time together is more intentional. I have less clothes which forces me to be more creative with my outfits. Our bills are smaller which means our adventures can be bigger. We have a whole new approach to life that we feel is more simple, yet more responsible. We compost our food scraps, and we have a grey water system so we are careful what cleaning products and soaps we buy. We have also found that the tiny house community is of a kindred spirit. They tend to be people who are genuine, inspirational, and value relationship over possessions.

Many ask us what its like living in a tiny house. The most common questions we get are….

Q: Do you bump into each other and get into each others way a lot?

A: Nope. The layout of our house was designed with a wide kitchen space and the bedroom separate from the bathroom which is separate from the Kitchen.

Q: Your husband is really tall, how in the world can he fit in a tiny house?

A: Our ceilings are 13ft. high. He may be tall but not that tall, mercy.

Q: Are you planning on having kids in that house?

A: Yes, at least one before we decide on going slightly bigger.

Not everyone can go as tiny as we did. But most can go smaller than what they currently have. The idea is to put focus on whats most important to you in life, and to weed out whats not. Where do you store your treasures? Matthew 16:19-21  says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Stay tuned to big things happening with all things tiny coming for Wind River Tiny Homes. 

P.S. I want to give a big shout out to Amani photographer Molly Gardner  for coming to our home, and taking pictures of Amani’s amazing items. There truly is something for everyone at Amani, I fell in love with their skirts! (blush, jocelin, dove)

11027985_10155675050240702_5428727519687097921_n11657496_778606378923047_1523972578_n11657521_778606375589714_2019035927_n11402778_10207148004317587_241117652415451770_n

Meet our volunteer…and her daughter, Amani!

Lana, Amani Box Party Volunteer with her daughter, Amani!

Check out our interview with Lana, who named her daughter “Amani” after a visit to our Kenya center! How did you get connected to us? “I went on a missions awareness trip to Kenya in college. Amani ya Juu in … Continue reading

Meet Monica

Meet the Women: Monica

“I’m grateful to be at Amani…you find sisters and they are able to pray for you, encourage you, and help you with what you are going through…”
Monica, KenyaWatch the video to hear more from Monica!

Meet the Women: Monica

Help us empower women like Monica!

3 ways you can help:
1. Share this video
2. Shop at amaniafrica.org
3. Host a box party
“Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.”
Psalm 37:37