What’s for lunch? Here’s a school lunch line in Yei. Something good is steaming in that big pot!
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We all have one. We would not exist without her. She makes us want to be better, to do better. Who is that woman in your life? How are you different because of her influence?
May 13 is Mother’s Day. We are taking this opportunity to reach out and ask you to tell us about a woman in your life who inspires you. What do you want the world to know about her?
Write 3 to 5 sentences about the special woman in your life. Maybe she’s a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, or a friend. Whoever she is, tell us about her. We will call it our “Honor Roll.” She has already made the grade. Now we get to cheer for her in this simple way.
Honor Roll submissions will be posted on our “2+1” blog next week on May 10. Take a few moments now to write something and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the message subject line write, “Honor Roll – with her name as it should appear.” We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.
Laptop, projector and extension cords. Check.
Water, Coke®, and coffee. Check.
Host driver, vehicle with fuel, and destination map. Check.
That’s how Africa ELI rolls. Ready and willing to connect with donors across the United States, we pack our bags, freshen up our presentation with current photos from South Sudan, and hit the road or fly the friendly skies to a location near you.
Sue Plasterer from Madison, Wisconsin coordinated the most recent Africa ELI advocacy and fundraising tour. It was Anita’s 5th visit to the state. Of our 21 donor states, Wisconsin ranks in the top three for contributing sponsorships and resources for students and projects in South Sudan.
Here are 10 tidbits about the recent Wisconsin 10-day tour:
Miles traveled in the state: 1,200
Presentation venues: 21 (schools, churches, Rotary meetings, private homes, and a YWCA)
Host drivers: 9 (Thanks, Sue P., Keith, Sue C., Donna, Arlene, Marilyn, Bernice, Wendell, and Gail!)
Weather: sun, rain, tornadoes, snow
McDonald’s® drive-thrus: 8
Church potlucks: 11
Anita singing the first phrase of the South Sudan national anthem: 19 (Rotarians were spared)
Photographs with really big cow statues: 2
Lost cell phones: 1 (recovered!)
Pictures posted to Anita’s Facebook “Dairyland” album: 38
A significant highlight was an announcement from the Wisconsin Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church identifying Africa ELI as an official mission project. This means that any contributing United Methodist Church group desiring credit for mission giving may direct checks through the Wisconsin UMC Conference, PO Box 620, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. The official project number for Africa ELI is #7951.
Next year’s 2013 Wisconsin tour is already being planned. It’s not too early to request a presentation for your church, organization, or group.
Next up? Alabama, Illinois and East Tennessee.
On Third Street in Wasau, Wisconsin, there is a delightful family-owned independent bookshop. It’s called Janke Book Store and is jam-packed with newly published material, favorite oldies, and a bargain basement full of various reading genres.
A Janke employee is a fan and supporter of Africa ELI students. She escorted me to this locally treasured shop and gave me time to roam the aisles and browse through the shelves. It was a pleasant surprise to find Doc Hendley’s new book, “Wine to Water,” on display near the front door. Lest you think I’m mixing up words from an old biblical story about water being turned into wine, I can assure you that this is the correct title. Doc is a “preacher’s son turned bartender and accidental humanitarian” who works to bring clean water to people in places like Darfur, South Sudan, Uganda, Haiti and Cambodia. He’s a 2009 CNN-hero who teaches indigenous people how to repair broken wells.
Feeling a slight glow from discovering a book with stories about South Sudan so near to the front door, I began searching for any and all other things that might feature Africa’s 54th and youngest country.
Bingo! While not exclusively about South Sudan, I found “We Will Have Gained Ourselves” by Mumbi Mwangi, Ph.D. She is a woman from the East Africa neighborhood. A Kenyan, she has researched the education of African girls and written about African women pursuing higher education in the USA. She interviewed three women who revealed their challenges in contradicting common values of African tradition. These women struggled to overcome “gender inequalities and stereotypes that inhibit African women’s access to education.” Reaching beyond the idea that African women must be domestic and aspire for motherhood over educational gains, she reveals the “tremendous personal strength, courage, and determination” it takes for girls and women to achieve academic goals in a traditionally patriarchal environment. She asserts that motherhood and domesticity are not incompatible with education and professional development.
“Wine to Water” and “We Will Have Gained Ourselves” are stories of human interest and insights into the potential of people with passion and a cause.