(esteria on the right. photo by jen)
hey guys. i need your help.
the back story: my friend jen lemen. do you know her? she's the woman who writes the words that fall straight into our hearts. the words that challenge our hopes to hope a little bit more more. to love more deeply. to seek more truthfully.
jen and i became friends before her trip to africa, but our friendship really took off in the weeks upon her return home when her life tilted off center a bit the way our lives do when we return home from extraordinary, unexplainable and life altering experiences. although she has fully re-entered life back home in the states, she remains deeply committed to her friends she met in africa. after a zillion conversations (we talk several times a week), i know this for sure: jen is a soul warrior. she has been tireless in her raising awareness, her spirit lifting, her prayers, and her problem solving for many, many sweet souls in africa.
so this is the part where i need you.
(esteria in front of her dilapidated mud house)meet esteria. she is a genocide survivor, and mother to 11 children (all but four have died). she lives in a tiny village in rwanda, and she spends her days caring for two young grandchildren who have been orphaned by AIDS. she has a special place in jen's life, not just because jen spent a lot of time with her during her trip to africa, but because she is odette's mother (odette is also a genocide survivor living as a refugee in the states and is dear dear friend of jen's). jen tells me esteria is strong. brave. and a testament to love.
esteria's mud house (pictured above) has been in a serious state of disrepair since a rainstorm blew in the roof last november. and this year's rainy season has almost completely demolished what's left. bottom line: esteria and the two grandchildren she is caring for deserve a home that can withstand the rain. a home with a concrete foundation and a strong roof. a home that can not only safely house their family, but one that can house their hopes, dreams, and future.
with the right funds and labor, she can have this new home very, very quickly. i believe that if we all donate just $5 (or more if you'd like), then we can do something extraordinary: we can give this family a home that was not only built with open hearts, but with open hands that held a hope so wide it made one woman's dream of a safe home in africa come true.
please donate. i am giving away a 11x14 painting that i made in italy to one lucky person who donates any amount (i don't have a photo of the painting as it's currently packed away in a box, but i assure you it's a beauty and my favorite from all of my italy creations). after you donate, please come back here and leave a comment. i will announce the winner next week. please only leave a comment if you've donated. thank you, thank you, thank you. as i begin this thanksgiving week, my heart is huge with a hope that we can do this...you + me. i know this will touch lives in ways we could have never imagined....
edited to add: more of esteria's harrowing life journey here.
edited to add: many of you have asked if you can spread the word about this on your blogs...YES, please do! jen and i would so appreciate that.