By Joseph Healey, MM
Years ago we remember Maryknoll Father John Casey, MM’s famous definition for an mradi: “a financial project in Africa that is guaranteed to lose money.” For those who have a good memory this was a famous one-liner in The Buffaloes: A Story of Maryknoll Society’s Fifty Years in Tanzania. The St. Agatha Joy Women’s Sewing Group and Workshop in the St. Kizito Small Christian Community (SCC) in the Waruku Section of St. Austin’s Parish in Nairobi, Kenya (near the Maryknoll Society House) has been very successful. Praise the Lord! From a small self-help group it has grown to be a financially independent SCC activity that produces African stoles, vestments, shirts, women’s handbags and other African crafts and Africana. The leaders are Annastacia Syombua, Agnes Wanjala, Clementine and Martha. Special thanks for Catherine Wambugu’s patient advice; Ben Wanjala’s encouragement as the Leader of the overall SCC; Eva and Amy’s promotion in the Gift Shop at Maryknoll, New York; and the helpful lay women in the Price Building at Maryknoll.
Special, special thanks goes Deacon Ed Solomon of Saratoga Springs, New York, USA for his missionary zeal in coordinating and marketing the African Stoles for deacons and priests in the USA. So far the project has raised $4,104 for the Kenyan women. Extraordinary! His motto for the project is “Building Bridges of Understanding Across Cultures.” See the trifold display he uses to market the stoles at any event.
Recall the two African proverbs: Many hands make light work. One hand washes the other. ManyMaryknollers are involved in the project including Joe Healey, Lance Nadeau, Bob Jalbert, Deacon Matt Dullka and the Kenyan and Tanzanian seminarians.