Ramatu’s story continued

I was introduced to Ramatu through Jan Haynes of Point Hope. Jan has made frequent trips to the Buduburam Camp and has come to know Ramatu well. “She is just an incredible person,” said Jan, “She radiates contentment. She is such a delight.”

Ramatu not only pursued training – and gathered women to be trained with her -but she then developed this community of women into a business. They secured a place to work, and with the support of Point Hope, were able to secure water for their batiking, and more recently, an electric sewing machine that allows them to do a more varied stitch pattern than there hand-crank sewing machine.

With income they just received from an order, the group of women chose to keep their money in a pool and purchase an embroidery machine that would allow them to produce a higher quality product. Considering the many necessities (food, for example) the women could have secured, the choice to purchase an embroidery machine shows an incomprehensible vision and determination to create a sustainable, long-term income.

This is where Sorrisi and Ramatu intersect. Ramatu and friends are now producing the soon-to-be-released Buduburam Tooth Fairy Pillow – from dying the fabric that is used in the pillow, to the embroidery and seamstress work required in the production. Sorrisi is their first “official” business order, and one that I’m hoping will sustain them for quite some time.

As you can imagine, there are many challenges in being the “first” anything – challenges I’ll address in later blogs. But back to the focal point. Ramatu. She overcame the shame and stigma to pursue getting much-needed medical treatment. She overcame insurmountable odds and received training in a trade. She surrounded herself with a community of women, became an entrepreneur, and is providing for herself and her family.

Ramatu is an amazing woman who’s God DOES accomplish amazing things.

(P.S. Ramatu’s husband came back around and decided it wasn’t so bad being her husband after all. Hmmm.)

Need Inspiration? Meet Ramatu.

Have you ever been in a season of life where you couldn’t make heads from tails? Where obstacles seemed insurmountable and inspiration was non-existent?
In those days, weeks, or months, I want to encourage you to remember a woman named Ramatu. She has certainly come to my mind on a number of occasions when challenges seemed to be the norm.

Ramatu has lived at the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana since 1999, fleeing there from her home country of Sierra Leone. Not only had her country been ravaged, but Ramatu was as well. As a result of the violence, Ramatu sustained long-term and disabling injury. To further the loss, Ramatu’s husband was ashamed of her, and chose to leave her – taking with him any income and earning potential she and her children had. Loss of country, home, health, marriage, and income. For many of us, this would be more than we could bear.
Ramatu, however, is a woman of amazing character, who believes in a big God who can accomplish amazing things.

Ramatu knew she needed to learn a trade so she could have a sustainable income. She desperately wanted to provide food, shelter, and medicine for herself and her children, and so she began asking the camp manager for assistance. Ramatu was persistent, and eventually she was sent to the social worker, who in 2008 finally connected her with Chris from Point Hope.
Chris took this request seriously, and not long after their meeting Ramatu was told to meet a red bus at 6:30 a.m. the next morning to take her to the nearest market area for training. Ramatu gathered a group of women to join her, and the next morning they eagerly waited to see if their dreams might become reality.  “I didn’t know if it was true,” said Ramatu, “but when the red bus came I was jumping, and crying, and praising God.”

Not even sure where she was going, Ramatu and her friends were taken to a “school” for hand crafted items where they were taught how to batik fabrics (a special dying process), how to embroider, and do seamstress work.  Ramatu completed the training, and she and her friends have been selling items at the market for the past couple years.

But this is just the beginning for Ramatu. In my next blog, see how Ramatu’s determination continues as her story becomes a part of the next chapter in Sorrisi’s story!

Tooth Shaped Pillows a Necessity for the Tooth Fairy?

Do Tooth Fairy pillows have to be the shape of a tooth? I don’t think so. In fact, I find teeth to be a little creepy. Maybe it has to do with the dreams (nightmares) I’ve had over the years that involved my teeth falling out. I’ve done my own self-analysis and I realize this re-occurring dream is connected to my feelings of fear and loss of control. But that’s another discussion. Let’s just say that the thought of waking up in the middle of the night to a tooth hanging over my bedpost would not be an enjoyable experience, and would most likely result in a range of terrorized reactions.

So, now you know one of the many reasons I chose to go a more decorative, whimsical route and less of a “toothy” route when it came to Sorrisi’s pillow designs. I wanted my kids to have pillow that didn’t scare them when they woke up in the morning, and that didn’t necessarily scream “I’m a toothy tooth fairy pillow” all the days of the year they weren’t losing teeth. Maybe the tooth fairy is disappointed in my lack of spirit, but I don’t think so. When I recently checked in with her she was quite relieved that she didn’t have to go looking for a big stuffed tooth haunting her child’s bed in the middle of the night!