By Philisters Mmbone, Karama Production Manager, Nairobi, Kenya (pictured above right with Nicholas, second from left, and Rebuild team members)
When Nicholas (one of our artisans) called to inform me of the fire that had burned his stall and 40 others, my heart was broken and I remember the first question I asked was, "Is everyone okay and safe?" I had just visited the previous day and was to do an inspection of the Cornerstone earrings the next day.
When I visited Nicholas just to know how he was doing, to my surprise all our Cornerstone earrings had not been destroyed in the fire. They had been placed in containers the previous day at the edge of the window. Indeed, they outlived their name (Isaiah 28:16).
When Karama decided to help him rebuild, I was overjoyed and just being part of the rebuilding process I learned a lot. For me, every moment was memorable from measuring the piece of land, laying the first brick to painting and having the building complete with a door, roof and windows
There were times we thought this would not work with the heavy April rains that have been pouring heavily. We ended up postponing the inauguration of the stall so many times.
On 18th April 2021, we were able to officially open up the new stall for Nicholas. It was quite an emotional moment for all of us. Just being able to witness the joy in the artisans' faces made me overwhelmed with thanksgiving. Just being able to pray for the new building and proclaim blessing is a new beginning that we are grateful for.
Having supportive friends and family is a blessing and to me Karama Collection has been that for me. As God uses me as a vessel to his artisans within Kenya, I'm grateful for every hand that gave and every person who was involved physically or through prayers. Indeed the Lord has restored the fortune of His people and they have rebuilt the ruined cities and inhabited them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine and they shall plant gardens and eat their fruits. (Amos 9:14)
Nicholas and his staff are grateful and happy being able to own a stall of their own and work in a better place.
The year 2021 has tested our resilience and optimism more than any year in recent history. I think of 2021 like a boxing match. Boom! Governments are so fractured that everything becomes partisan and deadlocked. Pow! A global pandemic claims the lives of hundreds of thousands around the world.
Smack! Mandated restrictions fundamentally change our everyday lives and routines.
Right cross! A worldwide economic and financial catastrophe.
When thinking of all the challenges that 2021 has brought into the living rooms and lives of people around the world, it may seem offensive to somehow be thankful for these challenges.