Every African Bag Has A Story:

Thank You!

GBP Kenya Project Manager Mary Ogalo with the sewing graduates and board members.
GBP Kenya Project Manager Mary Ogalo with the sewing graduates and board members.

In June, Mary Ogalo made a post on the GBP Blog about the recent graduation for 11 women trained to sew and create designs, including the Global Bag Project products.

"At around one in the afternoon in our usual meeting place — the Domestic Science room of the African International University, 11 women walked proudly to receive their well–deserved certificate. Completely dressed in a ceremonial gown and cap they made for themselves, each one of them held up their certificate to the applauding crowd.

Sewing machines ready for the new trainees who are now ready to create , the little coin purse that make up the classic  laptop bags.
Sewing machines ready for the new trainees to create the GBP line of products, including the classic laptop bags.
I had told them that God would be visiting us in a very special way that morning — God visiting to affirm his love and care. Through their smiles, laughter and happy chatter with relatives, I could tell God had visited and broken down the strongholds of despair and shame. Their dream to own the first asset in the form of a sewing machine came true."

Thank you for the many donations this year toward sewing machines for the new trainees. We now have 12 new women training to sew. Within 6 months, they will be equipped to sew the Global Bag Project bags. Your generous donations and bag purchases make a difference in the lives of 23 women and their families today and for their future.

Jane, one of the recent graduates, sewing in the Kijiji Curio shop.
Jane, one of the recent graduates, sewing in the Kijiji Curio shop.

This summer, two wonderful women have come alongside Mary in two different functions. Jacqueline, a volunteer Canadian student is documenting stories of women and exploring marketing possibilities in Canada. Pauline is a Kenyan student volunteering to help with weekly bible study with the women.

It is our goal for GBP Kenya to have more of a presence in the Nairobi tourist market. We’d love to network with connections you may have for that purpose. Please email to start the conversation.

Progress Report on The Mainses’ Son, Jeremy

Jeremy  is a fighter but he is now having to fight harder on both the physical and emotional fronts.
Jeremy is a fighter but he is now having to fight harder on both the physical and emotional fronts.

A friend who has gone through the lymphoma/chemotherapy routine talked to our daughter Melissa about the things the doctors don’t tell you. In reality, a good medical team attempts to prepare you for nausea and weight loss, for losing your hair and for being blasted with strong doses of what basically amounts to benign poison. ";But," said this friend, "they don’t tell you that during the course of that first treatment that there are three or four times when you will be near death."

Melissa’s friend paused, then spoke these words emphatically, "Just remind yourself as you all are going through this that the body is programmed to live. The body is programmed to live."

As I write this (July 29), Jeremy is still in the hospital. He has been hospitalized all but three days since the onset of this blood cancer occurred on June 4. Angela, his wife, brought him home for three days, but a palsy creeping down his face, indicated the need to take him back to his medical team at Rush University Hospital in the heart of Chicago.

Generally, when I go down to visit, I spend a night and a day — my longest stint was 34 hours. This relieves Angela some as she carries forth with work and directing the schedule of her three little children, inquiries from friends and family, as well as the remodeling on the home that will make it better for Jeremy when he does come home.

We all feel confident that Jeremy will recover and go into remission but these have been hard, not to say long, long days. These are some of the things the doctors don’t tell you: Chemotherapy and its after effects are wrenching for family members as well.

Would You Help Us?

I was scheduled to conduct bag parties over the summer, but this health crisis in the life of this son we love has forced me to put those plans aside. Consequently, our revenues have been nil. Mary Ogalo, our GBP Kenyan Project Director, has not received her salary for the last two–and–a–half months. Are there some of you who could take this added pressure off my mind by contributing $100 or so to make up this deficit?

Mary O with some of the hardworking seamstresses of Global Bag Project.
Mary O with some of the hardworking seamstresses of Global Bag Project.

Some 24 people giving $100 (or 50–60 people donating whatever they can) would help us enormously and take this burden off me personally.

Mary is a remarkable leader. She has built a training program to teach other women how to sew — we have 12 new seamstresses working on machines that they will be awarded once they have finished their course.

In addition, Mary has been creating the Girls County Caucus, a program designed to work with existing educational personnel in rural villages in Kenya to train young teens before they become vulnerable to the pressures and temptations that exist because of poverty systems and get swept up in rural to urban migration with all its hazards.

I do not want Mary to be under financial pressure because I have not been able to fulfill my part of the Global Bag Project strategy due to Jeremy’s fight against mantle cell lymphoma.

Can you help? Checks can be made out to Global Bag Project and mailed to Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187. You can also go to our website and make a donation through PayPal.

Christmas in August

Our laptop bags are a stylish way to safeguard your laptops or iPads.
Our laptop bags are a stylish way to safeguard your laptops or iPads.

Last year, we had substantial orders for bags (and for specialty bag orders) for church women’s retreats and Christmas teas and bazaars. (Our small–sized kanga–cloth bags make perfect book or Bible bags. Think about giving them as gifts for the holidays. They are also great stuffed with food items as hostess gifts.) They sell for $25 each, but some discounts are available for quantities of 50 or more.

However, we need you to think Christmas in August. If you are wanting to place orders for the holidays for 50 bags or more, we must have that order by September 15. We also must have half the monies for the price of the bags up–front. We are an enterprise that functions with no margins, and your earnest money allows the women to purchase fabrics and be paid as they sew them. The lead time in September allows us to find willing porters to haul a suitcase home to the States filled with your order! To order, contact us at info@globalbagproject.org.