Writing the stories of Uganda: Trip update and jewelry fundraiser

In just six weeks, I’m going back to Uganda.

I’m thrilled to be serving with Mercy for Mamas, an organization dedicated to improving maternal health and maternal mortality rates in Ugandan villages and slums. For our ten days there we’ll be visiting crisis pregnancy centers, village midwives and meeting with local missionaries and humanitarian workers to encourage them. We’ll be feeding people and handing out Mama Kits, which are $7 worth of sterile birthing supplies that can be a literal lifeline for expectant mothers in Uganda. (And for me, that cause is personal.)

And though I feel like it’s a job too big for me (which probably means I’m in the right place), I’m going to be writing the stories of some of the women I meet there. I already feel humbled and awed that I am going to be trusted with their words, that I’m going to be given their stories of against-odds survival and hope and then the responsibility of telling them to all of you, and it makes my throat tight just to think of it. More on that in the coming weeks.

I’m paying my own way to go on this trip, too. And that’s where you come in. (UPDATE: My trip is now fully funded! See below for the option to donate to Mercy for Mamas for the purchase of Mama Kits.)

Through connections in Uganda (and dear strangers willing to carry it home with them in their suitcases, thank you Holly), I just got a shipment of handmade Ugandan jewelry. I’m not gonna lie — I smelled the bags when I opened them up. They smelled like home.

Women artisans in Uganda fashion hundreds of these gorgeous pieces each month and sell them weekly (or daily) in open-air markets. They are unique and one-of-a-kind and imperfect and just really lovely.

I know you know that I know: You want some. (And maybe not just for you — Christmas is only four months away…)

When I opened the bags I couldn’t believe how much I was able to get. But as I counted it up and started getting interest and messages from friends and family, I really think it’s going to go pretty fast. Are you ready?

Here are the details:

1. View all the pieces for sale, along with their prices in the photo album here. (Shipping is included to the U.S.; Canadians, throw in some extra eh?)

2. When you decide what you’d like, send me an email at kimberly.vanbrunt at gmail dot com to confirm the item(s) are still available, and I’ll send you payment information.

3. If I sell every piece, I’ll have enough to cover my trip expenses for the entire 10 days! UPDATE: My trip is now fully funded!

4. If you’d like to donate to Mercy for Mamas — 100 percent of your donation will go for purchasing mama kits — go to the Mercy for Mamas website and click on the “Donate” button on the right sidebar.

Thanks for being excited with me for this trip. Thanks for being enthusiastic with me about this fabulous jewelry. I’m not great about asking for help or pushing a fundraiser on my friends, but I just really really really believe in this trip and this work. Really.

Thanks for your prayers, your tweets and your support. It feels amazing to be lifted up in so many different ways by friends near and far. I love all y’all.

Let’s go to Uganda together.

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One comment on “Writing the stories of Uganda: Trip update and jewelry fundraiser

  1. Caris Adel says:

    So I’ve been thinking about this, and I think the way you are funding this is amazing. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it this way before, but it seems perfect. I wonder if there are ways to make this.happen more often. I just love the inter-connectedness of this. They need their jewelry sold, we want jewelry to buy, and you need money – instead of the mark-up going to overhead or other projects, it goes to missions. This is such a cool win-win scenario. Fair-Trade Mission trip. Such a fantastic way to go about it.