“The vehemence of emotion, stirred by grief and love within me, was claiming mastery, and struggling for full sway; and asserting a right to predominate: to overcome, to live, rise, and reign at last; yes, — and to speak.”
~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
As we listened to Safi softly answer our questions in Swahili, I remembered how important it is, that moment you speak up, you find your voice, discover not only what you want to say, but what you need to say.
|Safi, at the Bukavu Sewing Workshop|
On our visit to Congo, we met more and more women in workshops and classes, in the fields and at their homes, and asked to hear their stories, not of rape or abuse, but of daily life, daily struggles, and hopes for the next day to come. We began to hear individual voices growing stronger in clarity and volume, and the shared voice of place, of community began to form a song.
Safi, 17 years old, had little to do before she discovered the Bukavu Sewing Workshop. Her father had abandoned her family, and she was too poor to have gone to school. Her face brightened as she shared with us how much she loves her mother, and likes to cook and help take care of her mom when she returns from her back-breaking work of transporting goods and wares across the nearby border to Rwanda.
When Safi discovered the Bukavu Sewing Workshop, she found a place where she could learn skills that will help her mother. Young and still shy with us, strangers to her, we saw how sharing her story made her stronger, and wanted to share it with you. When asked what she would tell you, partners of Action Kivu in the U.S. and around the world, she asked that God might pour blessings on you, and said, “We will never forget them in our lives.”
|A woman carrying a load of bricks, for which she will be paid approximately $1 USD for a day’s work.|
(Photo credits: 1. Safi sharing her story, photographed by Cate Haight, 2 & 3 Women working, photographed by Amani Matabaro)