What a day! What a week! What a great six months! What a year!
The training of the first batch of seven women is officially complete! We made it and are here to tell the tales. There are too many stories to capture the nuances, the experiences, the lessons, and the love of the past six months. “There are so many things, were every one written, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that could be written”
The culmination of it all, the celebration ceremony!
This was an emotional week/day for all of us. Remember the context – some of these women have never gone to school, never received a certificate, or a participation medal for anything. They may have birthed children but by societal standards, they haven’t achieved or accomplished anything. Thank goodness, we don’t live by what society tells us about ourselves.
Furthermore, the ladies have hard lives where being at home is not a pleasant experience. At the training center, they have found a safe space where they can be themselves. They have found a place and ways to learn more about themselves, and others. They have built a community. They have come to know they are loved and also worthy of love. Saying goodbye to this community is hard. There is a lot of fear that comes with change and newness and transition. There are a lot of emotions swirling within everyone right now.
It has been really powerful and amazing to walk alongside this batch of women, learning daily, about grace and tenderness – both extending and receiving. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we do know the past six months of yesterdays have been overflowing with love, delight, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, peace, goodness, faithfulness. These yesterdays will carry them, all of us, into the unknown tomorrows.
For our last kitchen session, I asked each woman what her favorite item was to make. Each had a different item, and different reasons for enjoying it. Our last Monday together, each woman was tasked with making her favorite dish! It was an opportunity to implement not only hard skills of baking, but also soft skills of communication, time management, and coordination. The best was being able to celebrate and feast together to mark it all!
During the inauguration event, two of our ladies shared about their experiences in the hospitality program. Neither of them had ever used a mic before or spoken in front of a crowd of a 100 people. Infact, neither of them had done public speaking of any kind whatsoever! They spoke from their hearts about all the things they are learning, including and maybe most importantly, about themselves. They shared that they couldn’t have imagined this opportunity and how glad they are to have this experience as a part of their life.
It was another proud moment from the week (month!) of many proud moments.