The new year is upon us, with all its possibilities, opportunities, and unknowns. You’ve likely heard rumblings of change this past year for Amani’s operations in the US, most notably being the opening of a new center housing the US Warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 2012 was a year of big transitions for Amani and our location in DC, and 2013 opens a new chapter that we’re excited to see unfold.
Nearly seven years ago, I first visited a place that would change my life: Amani ya Juu in Nairobi, Kenya. Through my visits to Amani in the years that followed, my friendships at Amani became a refuge and source of deep growth for me. Amani showed me that, just as everyone, I have something valuable to give and that in giving of myself, I learn and grow. I’ve had the privilege to serve on staff with Amani here in DC for the past five years, most recently as US Country Director based in the DC location. Now, 2013 brings a new chapter for me as well, as I step away from this role and turn over the leadership of Amani US to the next generation of passionate, visionary women.
You probably know Amani in Mount Pleasant as a little African boutique chocked full of fun and functional gifts. But if you’ve peeked in the back over the past four years, you may have caught a glimpse of much more happening back there. We call our DC location on of the Amani centers, places where women are working and learning together as they self-sustainably support Amani’s work. Since early 2009, the DC center has thrived as a hub for Amani’s distribution, retail, marketing, and development operations in the US.
Now that the distribution operation has moved to Chattanooga, AmaniDC’s little space will focus on local retail and outreach opportunities. We’re excited about seeing the dream of extending training opportunities to area women become a reality this year. And we’ll be focusing on branding as “AmaniDC”, a boutique supporting the five Amani centers in Africa. I’m excited to introduce the AmaniDC community to Sarah Moore, the new DC Center Director, who will lead AmaniDC in this new season with her vision for community-building and partnering with Amani in Africa.
AmaniDC will work alongside its newest sister center in the US: Amani Chattanooga. This location has become the hub for product distribution and marketing in the US, including online sales and volunteers organizing sales around the country. We’re excited to see them grow!
As always, AmaniDC’s self-sustainability depends on the support of its community. How can you help?
- Keep shopping. We so appreciate the faithful neighbors who come to Amani first for gifts. Thank you, and keep it coming!
- Bring a friend. Your recommendations to friends have meant real growth these past few years. You make a big difference when you introduce a friend to AmaniDC.
- Lend a hand. We’re looking for passionate, dedicated people to help keep the shop lively and welcoming. Interested in volunteering in the shop, back office, or at events? Let us know! [EMAIL TO DC@AMANIAFRICA.ORG)
- Keep your eyes open. Have beautiful products, will travel! We’re looking for opportunities to participate in community marketplaces around town to share about Amani and sell some products. If you have an idea (and, even better, would like to volunteer to make it happen), send us some email! [EMAIL TO DC@AMANIAFRICA.ORG)
Transition is full of unknowns. The very thing that drew me to Amani initially is the same thing that will carry it forward in every new season: the trust in a loving God who cares about bringing healing to hurting people in a broken world. This same God loves Amani and will continue to do so. I’m reminded of the rhythms of life and fruitfulness we observe in nature. Psalm 1 is a meditation on seasons of fruitfulness in the lives of the faithful and wise:
“He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.”
If the tree is firmly planted near the place where it is fed, it will see life and fruitfulness in its time. As AmaniDC enters a new season, we trust that by remaining faithful to our call to share God’s peace wherever we are with whatever we have, we will see fruit ripen in its season.
Thank you for your support so far. We hope you will continue to walk alongside the Amani in 2013. May we together see fruitfulness that only God’s peace can bring in the new year and chapter ahead.
Peace to You,