A reflection from Brittany Noetzel, Amani ya Juu’s US Country Director
Elizabeth turned to me with bright eyes. “You know, this is a miracle,” she said with a firm nod.
Jerita leaned in, her tiny frame folding eagerly around Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Several years ago, they gathered just a few of us together at Amani. They showed us the letter you wrote and told us about your plans. They asked us to commit to think of you often and pray for these plans for a DC center.”
“And so we did,” Elizabeth concluded. “We committed to supporting this. And now here it is. And we’re here to see it!”
I met Jerita and Elizabeth years ago on my first visit to Amani ya Juu in Nairobi. I had heard stories from Amani that inspired hope and curiosity in me before coming, and these would be the women who would welcome me with open arms into this community of peace. They shared their stories with me and explained to me the inner-workings of this beautiful, vibrant place. Little did we know, they were helping lay a firm foundation for the most far-flung expression of Amani: a center in Washington, DC.
AmaniDC has sought to replicate the spirit of peace that many of us have been strengthened by in the past. Monthly deliveries of Amani product, daily e-mails discussing product details, and prayer requests keep us connected. But as anyone with a family member far away can testify, nothing replaces time together in the same space.
The visit from five women representing the Amani family in Kenya confirmed that this center is indeed a sister to the centers in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Liberia. Our lives and work look different, but we share in the same mission. After years of squirreling away in our tiny offices — ordering product, brainstorming communications, reviewing our processes, and praying that all this would somehow extend God’s peace in Africa and the US — to sit face-to-face with our sisters affirmed this initiative and renewed our vision for living out our calling here.
It truly is a miracle. God has preserved and grown the work of Amani and all the women who compose her. And this trip was, among other things, a gift to the Amani family through the opportunity to witness that reality first-hand.
“I could have never dreamed of it!” Neither could I, Elizabeth.