‘Tiyanjane’: coming together. Ladies from the locality of Flying Mission Zambia's base outside of Lusaka have been doing just that most weeks for some years now. One recent meeting stands out as special. Faith Solt, one of the FMZ missionaries who helps them, describes it:
‘We took all eight hand crank sewing machines to the home where the Tiyanjane women meet. Eyes sparkled as the ladies watched and then threaded the machines. Using scraps of material, they started to practise sewing, using one hand to turn the crank whilst guiding the material with the other hand. After becoming familiar with the machines, they were eager to begin sewing in earnest. A few took off their chitengi – that’s the brightly-coloured cloth women in Africa traditionally wrap around themselves to protect their clothes - and sewed a hem along the frayed edge.
The following week each lady chose a piece of fabric from our collection of donated cloth. Each would make a suit for herself from it. One woman in the group is trained in tailoring. She is showing the ladies how to cut out the fabric and sew the pieces together. It is quite a learning process.
The women love to learn new things. A few months ago the women asked to bake cookies. Using an oatmeal cookie recipe, they measured the ingredients, stirred the batter and placed the dough on cookie sheets. The cookie sheets were placed in an outdoor oven that is heated by burning wood or charcoal. The temperature was a little too hot and the first batch was a bit burnt. So they ate these after they cooled and placed the rest in bags to take home to their families.
Although the women learn practical skills each week, they also come together to learn spiritually. Even as the ladies walk home they can be heard continuing to discuss the Bible lesson with each other. Little by little they are coming together with each other and with Jesus Christ.'
The sewing machines were donated by a couple from UK who visited FMZ and helped out where they could. On their return they arranged for these machines to be shipped out by their church for the ladies. More 'coming together'! Thank you, Ali and Rob Blakemore, and Testwood Baptist Church.
'How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) reside together in unity, for there the Lord commands a blessing.' Psalm 133