Every African Bag Has A Story:

Looking for Volunteers of Varied Talents

I wasn't prepared for Pam's energy and enthusiasm, or for her loving care for our African co-workers who make Global Bag Project bottle bags.
We need people like Pam who has the energy, enthusiasm and loving care for our African co-workers who make Global Bag Project bottle bags.

My new friend, Pam Klein, met me in Africa last October 2011. I knew Pam was a woman of many talents, but I wasn't prepared for her energy and enthusiasm, or for her loving care for our African co-workers who make Global Bag Project bottle bags. In just ten days time, Pam had suggested (and purchased fabric) for a couple of new bag products. She took hundreds of photos and contributed inestimably to our on-going discussions as to how Global Bag Project Kenya could become self-sustaining. In addition, as a valuable advisor, she helped decide which tourism trips should be added to our Kenya Voluntourism Trips.

Our bags hail from the most unique places, made by people in Kenya with the most incredible stories. Each bag comes with its own special tale and beautiful design that is yours to share as people admire your beautiful bags.

Pam returned home to Wheaton, Illinois, contacted many of the development projects we both had toured in-country and with consignment arrangements, set up a December Christmas boutique in her home. In two days time, with no advertisement beyond word of mouth or the ubiquitous e-mail list, some $3,600 of products were sold! All the proceeds went back to the artisans, either those living overseas or those now settling in our country as immigrants. Pam is continuing to investigate the possibility of a cross-cultural center where these artisan products can be sold year round.

It always amazes me what volunteers of varied talents can accomplish. So we are praying for 9-12 people, men and women, gifted in a variety of ways, to go on a voluntourism journey with us to Kenya in October of this year. We need business experts, marketing advisors, accomplished seamstresses, and folk who just love to get their hands on a project and make a difference. Check out the details of the trip below. Photo credits go to Pam Klein.

Is it possible that you could become a volunteer of varied talents? The impact of Pam's Africa journey seems to grow in larger and larger circles. What plan might God have for you as you consider the amazing impact of voluntourism travel?

Voluntourism Trip to Kenya in 2012

Your visit to Kenya will be a life-changing experience as you interface with this incredible country, its delightful animals and geography, and its most hospitable people. Never leave the same again!

Your visit to Kenya will be a life-changing experience as you interface with this incredible country, its delightful animals and geography, and its most hospitable people. Never leave the same again!

The Global Bag Project will be sponsoring a voluntourism (working and tourisim combined) trip to Kenya in October 2012. Right now, depending upon the general Kenyan election, we are planning to travel the first two weeks in October.

We will be “flipping” some of the GBP seamstresses’ houses, shopping in the markets for fabrics for them to make new products from, and renovating some rooms in the Kijiji Guest House (where we will be staying) on the campus of Africa International University. Guests who stay on campus often become customers, moving the GBP sewing room there toward profitability. While we are in Africa, we want to help find products that guests will buy and take home with them: age-appropriate toy bags for boys and girls made out of east African fabrics (just in case there hasn’t been time to go shopping).

We’ll go to church at Nairobi Chapel, shop in the Arab markets, have lunch at one of the older tea farms, visit the Rift Valley and take English tea at Lake Navaisha Country Club (a throwback to English colonialism), examine some development projects with a proven history of success—Kaburi Beads, the artist colony at Kitengela Glass (where “Nothing Is Wasted”), tour Amani Ya Ju (the mother of all sewing projects), meet the GBPK seamstresses in Kibera slum, have lunch with the bag-makers from the sewing room at Africa International University—all this and safari too! We’ll look at the Women’s Cycle of Life, a methodology that teaches women (even illiterate women) how to educate other women on hygiene, nutrition, the stages of menses, sexual relationships with their husbands, birth and post–natal care–all of which is seamlessly integrated with Scripture lessons. We will ask you to tangle with some of the dilemmas that keep helpless people helpless and see if we can actually provide solutions

We promise that you will never think of the world the same after this journey.

Make wonderful memories with many new friends as you visit the incredible garment makers of the Global Bag Project.

Make wonderful memories with many new friends as you visit the incredible garment makers of the Global Bag Project.

The cost of the trip will be $3,500 for the land fee, not including air flight. This is the higher end fee, which includes costs for the safari and a stipend (which you will be receipted for as a donation) to allow us to capitalize buying fabrics, building an emergency fund, purchasing sewing machines or décor and bedding for the Kijiji Guest House rooms. We are working on an alternate safari plan that will reduce the fee above by around $1,000.

Specific details are still being determined, but we will need a deposit of $500 and your registration by April 2012. At that time we will begin our journey through a series of monthly getting-to–know–each–other and cultural training conference calls. These will begin in May.

We recommend that people read:

Some of these books will be topics of our conference-call book discussions.

Registration is open as of this January 2012. But if you want to go, you might want to ask for financial gifts to help underwrite the journey. We can receipt some of those gifts as donations through Mainstay Ministries.

Contact Karen Mains at karen@hungrysouls.org. Our Mainstay Ministries office phone is 630–293–4500. If I am not in, leave a message and I will return your call.

Shopping Ideas — Kanga–Cloth Bottle Bags

Our new Bottle Bags will dress up any bottle of olive oil, wine, sparkling juice, etc

Our new Bottle Bags will dress up any bottle of olive oil, wine, sparkling juice, etc.

Our new Laptop Bags are a stylish way to safeguard your laptops or iPads.

Padded Laptop Bag made in Kenya from cotton cloth.

How about stuffing a Global Bag Project bottle bag or mini–bag with ingredients and the recipe to make an easy dinner? Give them as hostess gifts or just a thank–you–for–being–my–friend gifts.

Someone just ordered 36 bags, which only leaves us with 8 bags left in inventory at the time of this email. At this time, we’re taking special orders and will fulfill those orders when we receive our next shipment within the next couple of months. Please contact Carla at our GBP office number, 630-293-4500.

Our kanga–cloth bottle bags are usually sold for $12 each, but we are happy to make them available now for $10 each.

And guess what?

You’re not only giving a gift to a friend, you’re providing income for one of the Kenyan bag–makers who is working hard to lift her family out of poverty. This is a win–win.

To order bottle or small kanga–cloth bags, contact Carla Boelkens, our GBP Director at Carla@globalbagproject.org or, order online.