February Musings

I’ve got a good fire blazing in the wood stove and a big mug of squash soup on the table next to me. I’m in Newville, the little hamlet where I grew up and where my family still owns the 200+ year old house. It’s where I go when I want a little time to myself and quiet to do jobs that take full attention. I’m doing lots of paperwork this time.

The MoonCatcher Project has had an extremely busy January. I counted  ten events - MoonBees and presentations - last month and my calendar shows no sign of letting up.

The MoonBee at Union College in January attracted over 70 students and volunteers.

The MoonBee at Union College in January attracted over 70 students and volunteers.

Our wonderful volunteers making MoonCatcher Kits at St. Sophia’s Church in January.

Our wonderful volunteers making MoonCatcher Kits at St. Sophia’s Church in January.

Churches, synagogues, schools, quilting clubs and lots of other organizations are reaching out to support us. I’ve even heard from a little non-profit in Australia that is starting to do MoonBees down-under. Packages of unsewn kit parts were mailed this week to Connecticut and California and a Doctor from Nicaragua wants to talk to us next week. It amazes me that all these people find us and want to do something to help.

I’m constantly reminded that people like to have hands on work to do when volunteering. There is something so real and primal about working with our hands - being able to touch and feel the process. People come up to me all the time to say thank you. I always feel like it should be the other way around.

While all of this activity is going on, and while we prepare for our annual Birthday Bash and a Summer movie night, I am also getting ready for my winter trips to Africa.

In March I’ll go to Uganda and Kenya with my dear friend Maureen and in April I head to Malawi with my buddies, Charlotte, Lon and Helen. Lon and Helen are Rotarians and are helping us to apply for Rotary International funding for our work in Uganda and India. I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to show them The MoonCatcher Project in Malawi where we have an operational sewing guild and many schools that we serve. Charlotte has been coming to MoonBees for years and will teach some art classes as well as help The MoonCatcher Project, Malawi.

It’s morning! I spent the night in my little red cabin. The creek is high after the warmer weather and loudly rushes pass my windows. Huge icy plates have dammed the other side of the waterway and it looks like I’ve landed on the moon. How different from the red soil and hot climate of Uganda where I’ll be in a few weeks.

My little cabin in Newville.

My little cabin in Newville.

This year we are going to spend some time in a new area of Uganda where service work is seldom done but Phoebe tells us the need is great (Kasese District ). We will also get representatives from each sewing guild together to discuss their work, how we can better serve them and find out what is their capacity for growth. This is our fifth year since establishing The MoonCatcher Project there. It’s time to ask more questions and work in closer collaboration with our tailors and teachers. We’ll spend a day and a half together working and playing.

We’ll visit some friends in villages where we already work and spend some time in Kenya with our seamstress, Jackie. We are also hoping to visit some schools there and help teach and distribute kits in Uganda and Kenya.

My next blog entry will be from Uganda. I’ll send photos and try to write most days.