As readers will know, the Link sponsors 12 students at the Folk Development College (the FDC) at Urambo. (Urambo is ten miles from Nkokoto so most of the students live in at the college.) The 2014 – 16 group of six students finished their course in December and have been presented with a leaving toolkit from the Link. These tool kits comprise of a sewing machine each plus materials, thread, etc., for the four students completing their needlework/tailoring course and a woodwork tool kit for the two boys who finished their carpentry course. The cost of these tool kits is approximately 2,800,000 Tz shillings. This is about £1,000 in total - £170 per student, expensive but giving each student the opportunity to set themselves up with a trade and income, something not possible without the sponsorship given them by the Minchinhampton Nkokoto Link, and of course only possible because of the generosity of the sponsors and our supporters.) We plan to keep track of these “graduating” students to see how they use their qualifications and trade but as they don’t always stay living in their home village, this isn’t always possible. Stima took photos of the ceremony but unfortunately, when he was sending them to me from the internet café in Urambo, the assistant pressed the delete button by mistake!
This was my first Messy Christingle experience in Minchinhampton and one that was well attended by families. Alison Wood encouraged a great team of people to think creatively about light, fruits of the earth and prayer to share with the children.
Two models of solar-powered D-Lights (S1 on left, S20 on right). Each costs about £7-£8,
a month's wages for many families in Nkokoto. For us, two cups of coffee and a slice of cake.
Well over fifty people gathered at the Hub to listen to a beautifully illustrated talk by Dr Fran Wilson Copp "Season's Greetings - a colourful history of Christmas cards" on Wednesday 23rd Nov. Fortified against the November chill by mulled wine and the season's first round of mince pies, we saw how the images that decorate our cards of snow, robins, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, the Three Kings etc. have developed over the past two hundred years.
As we gathered for our final meeting of the year we were greeted by a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree at the Library.
Our format was different this month as we began with the speaker, Mrs Aileen Bendal who is the Village and Community Agent for our area. Some of us knew of the scheme but many did not. She explained that the Agent bridges the gap between the local community and statutory and voluntary organisations able to offer help or support - a very comprehensive service. It is aimed at the over 50’s but help is available to any vulnerable person in the community. Questions were asked and answered and we now know that there is help at hand if required.
The Traidcraft Christmas sale on November 15th was all we had hoped for in our last sale. We could not sum it up better than Bob Philpott who wrote of enjoying 'the wonderful company and the sheer joy of the occasion, knowing that our purchases are helping our neighbours in far off lands.' The takings on the day were £1,777.00.
One of the things I have admired about the way Traidcraft operate is that I have been able to introduce you to the actual people who have benefited from particular Traidcraft projects. So I thought in my final article I would pick out 3 characters who have specially stood out for me.
The Ladies Club was formed in the early 1990's taking over from the evening Minchinhampton W I. Since then we have met regularly in the Porch Room combining evening talks and demonstrations on a variety of topics, outings including Christmas lunches. Starting with 50 members we have now dwindled to 25 and no new members have joined recently. As we are not affiliated to any National body our insurance cover was higher than expected and therefore took most of our subscriptions. There has been difficulty in recruiting new committee members so it was decided by the present committee and members to terminate the Ladies Club at the end of this year. In December we are having a trip to the Cotswold Playhouse and Egypt Mill for our last Christmas meal.