As some of you know, Karama Collection relies heavily on a volunteer work force lovingly referred to as “Karama Mamas”. These women are fearless, tenacious task masters who take on any challenge we give them. Earlier this May, we said goodbye to our faithful volunteer Kathy after a two-year hard-fought battle with cancer. We wanted to share a few fond memories to honor our sister in Christ.
Kathy would respond to every “call to arms” at the store and served in many capacities over the years. Her favorite spot at the Karama world headquarters was working with our towels, napkins and other linens hence our nickname for her - The Linen Lady. Kathy was an exceptional woman who loved the Lord and was generous in so many ways with her time, talents and treasure.
Kathy was a gentle, contented soul. One time she brought a book for me to read because she said the main character reminded her of me. When I read it, I was overwhelmed because the heroine was quite a noble soul and not at all the way I saw myself. It was a very lovely gesture just as the cupcakes are in this photo she made for my birthday. She had a way of making everyone feel God’s love and how much He values us by the way she loved and valued us. Her heart for the poor that we serve in Karama made her a wonderful role model.
Kathy was a dear friend and sister in Christ. She taught me about love, being a mother, prayer, faithfulness, friendship and more. Kathy was a great listener, but she not only listened, she cared and loved. I owe my voice to Kathy. She is the only reason I can speak now. She knew things that I did not know. She encouraged me to seek help, helped me find help, and walked beside me through the process. I miss her dearly, but know she is with Jesus. I know I will see her again, but until then, I will try to live out the lessons she taught me here.
Some think that Karama Collection is only an enterprise that ministers to artisans and teenagers in Africa, but it fosters an amazing community of women around a table in Indiana as they clean, tag, and bag products. There is healing in serving. This is how I got to know Kathy best, always with the biggest smile and sparkle in her eyes as she faithfully worked. Oh how I will miss her but I consider myself very blessed that she carried the names of so many African women leaders who I love so much in her heart as she entered heaven.
Even though technically Kathy might have been old enough to be my mother, she immediately felt like a sister to me. I don't know if it was her quick wit, sense of humor, or how sometimes she just needed to be in some peace and quiet to work but we immediately hit it off. In Kathy's own words she wrote, "I am so grateful to call you my friend. I guess God knocked on my door and led me to call you in those early days about volunteering at Karama. It was a wonderful experience and especially meeting so many great Christian friends." We are all grateful to have called Kathy our sister and our friend and we will miss her dearly around the Karama table.