Sunday, August 19, 2007

Inspirational Women

One of the really unexpected treats during our time in Nyakato was getting to know an amazing woman named Mama Lukamisa. Her real name is Shangwe but after a woman gives birth to her first child everyone from then on refers to her as Mama and then the name of her first born.

Mama Lukamisa is the Women's and Children's Development Director for the East of Lake Victoria Lutheran Diocese in Mwanza. She works tirelessly to improve education and health care for women and children and is quite outspoken in her crusade to empower women to stand up to oppressive husbands as well as encouraging them to be financially independent and to start their own small businesses. Mama Lukamisa has mentored several of the areas women's micro-loan groups which I had the pleasure of visiting.

In her spare time (I swear this woman must not sleep) Mama Lukamisa also has her own business doing small scale food canning, as well as making tea and a nutritious porridge blend for children and lactating mothers. She also runs small workshops for women to teach them the food processing skills that she has learned as well as proper sanitation for a business dealing with food products. She even runs a small shop in town where she sells her products.

I could not be more thankful for the time that I got to spend with Mama Lukamisa, getting to follow her around to visit the micro-loan groups and to visit her small business. It was fascinating and inspiring to pick her brain about the issues that women in Tanzania face and to be inspired by a woman who is filled with such a fire to empower these women to change the frightening conditions that they are living with.

I am testing out a new feature of my blog which is the bellow slide show where you can look at photos from my visits with Mama Lukamisa. You can play the slide show as is on my blog page and there is a small text box on the left hand side that will show you captions that I have put on some of the photos. Also you can just click on the slide show and it will bring it up in a new window so you can view the images larger. My husband showed me this feature so that I won't use up all of my blog memory putting the photos directly on the blog. Thanks Honey!


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