A visit from the Sisters for Peace

Sisters for Peace visit Tloma.
Elizabeth, Judy, Caroline and Sabrina share a song with the loan women in Tloma.

Every person has a story to tell, and many stories can be used as a catalyst for change.

NCN fellows and Judy recently had the opportunity in Karatu to host five inspirational women from the Northeast.

Sisters for Peace visit a beading operation.
Elizabeth Reilly tries her hand at grinding maize.

The ladies, led by Sisters for Peace Founder Caroline Wheeler, are all affiliated with the organization, which empowers, educates and supports women, girls and impoverished families around the world, according to sistersforpeace.org.

Constantly looking to share their resources with those in need, the women were eager to learn about Tanzanian culture and how NCN is supporting local Maasai and Iraqw people. During their stay in Karatu, we were able to expose the Sisters to several aspects of life here.

Sisters for Peace founder Caroline Wheeler learns how to bead.
SFP Founder Caroline Wheeler beads in Tloma.

Locally, one of our Tloma loan leaders hosted our group of eight for lunch following an educational stop at a traditional Irawq hut. We then went to Josephine’s beading shop to learn how she makes her traditional Irawq wedding skirts.

The women were especially happy to visit a working project in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Maasai women dancing during a visit from Sisters for Peace.
Maasai women in Alailelai perform a traditional dance.

Arriving to Maasai women dancing and jumping for us in traditional garb in a subvillage in Alailelai, we saw firsthand a Maasai Stoves and Solar stove being built. The women building worked together like a well-oiled machine inside a very dimly-lit hut, dipping bricks in water, adding them to the base and sealing it together.

Those who already had stoves praised their benefits and the community at large honored MSS leaders who were on hand, as well as Judy. We also took chai with a local family and bought beads from women who seldom have the opportunity to sell their work.

For the Sisters for Peace, most of whom hadn’t previously been to Africa, the trip was both eye-opening and motivating.

Maasai stoves and solar project during Sisters for Peace visit.
Women build an MSS stove inside a hut.

“We are awed by the work that NCN is doing and are forever touched by the beautiful experience with them, and we are very much looking forward to coming back,” Wheeler said.

For Kim and I, the women brought a fresh enthusiasm to the work we’re doing here and inspired us to continue helping others.

They included young, single mothers who worked very hard to overcome hard beginnings, a wife of a man who should have been in the twin towers when they were attacked but wasn’t, a quiet community leader pouring herself into helping local youth and an intellectually engaging young woman whose passion is contagious.

Sisters for Peace learn about Iraqw culture.
Local loan leader Josephine teaches SPF’s Jessica Wright Sarno about traditional Iraqw maize grinding.

And each with unique background and reasons has used her story to work toward bettering the world. These women saw both the need there is in this part of the world and experienced the people and traditions that make this culture beautiful. NCN is very grateful to have made such proactive connections.

In order to help further our cause along, Sisters for Peace will hold an event on May 13 in Great Barrington, Mass., in order to raise funds to build more Maasai stoves, sell the beadwork they purchased and spread the word about our organization and its immediate needs. To learn more about the fundraiser or Sisters for Peace, visit their website. To donate toward our stove project visit www.ncn-tz.org/donate.

Thank yous during Sisters for Peace visit
Maasai women give a thank-you gift to Maasai Stoves and Solar Project Manager Kisioki Lengoije Moitiko.

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