In honor of Labor Day, I thought these words from Argentine were fitting. Here they are translated into English and in the video you can listen to Argentine speaking in Swahili.
"Me, I am thanking God very much because
of this work we have... Before we had a very poor life...we were
sewing in a shop...and they were "eating us" (taking advantage of us).
We didn't even have the hope that we could get work...work that we could see is helping us and helping our families."
Those words strike me...
"work that we could see is helping us and helping our families." What a seemingly small thing to ask for. The video continues and Argentine goes on to list all the things that they do with the money they earn. She mentions "small things" like buying vegetables to eat and soap to wash their children's clothes. And then she talks about the money having made it possible for them to flee Congo when the war escalated and find safety in a refugee camp. And then she goes on to say that she probably would have died in child birth if she hadn't had the money from her work to pay for a good hospital and medicine. Finally she points to the young woman sitting behind her in the video, with the baby. She explains that this is her sister in law with a new baby, who has also fled the war, and who Argentine is providing for through her earnings.
To my American mind it is a scattered list with vegetables and laundry soap in between references to near-death experiences. And yet in a world like Congo it makes perfect sense. On the edge of poverty and war, there are no small things. Buying vegetables is as vital as fleeing war. And the SHONA Congo women have done both through your purchases.
In honor of Labor Day we would like to thank each of you for creating a world where Mapendo, Argentine, Solange, and Riziki can labor and reap the fruit of their labor. Thank you for supporting the work of their hands.