It’s been nearly four years now but I still can’t shake the memory; Nelly and Betty shouting, dancing, and singing because they would have bread on the table that night. In that single moment I learned a life-altering lesson. I learned of the power of bread on the table, the joy of sharing with friends and family, and how one seemingly small act can impact many people.
Let me backup. Four years ago I hired two new artists, Nelly and Betty, and paid them for their first delivery of beadwork. Immediately they jumped out of their chairs, shouted and danced and sang, slowing down eventually, to tell me that they would have bread on the table that night. I was moved by their bold display of appreciation but didn’t fully understand their words until later that evening when a South African friend of mine told me the true meaning.
You see, in South Africa when someone receives they also share. So, while Nelly and Betty would have bread on their table that night so would their children, their families, their extended families, their neighbors, their friends and perhaps even the neighborhood orphans.
To witness the power of a simple act, the joy that it created and the generosity that ensued was nothing short of a pivotal moment in my life. As a result of this experience I have spent the last two years search for a seamstress who could carry the beauty of the bread on the table concept one step further. Then in January I met a woman named Elina who lives in a one room shack with her two daughters and two grand-daughters in Pumelonge, one of the poorest areas of Mamelodi. Using a generator to power her sewing machine, Elina manages to create the most beautiful custom draperies, pillow coverings and whatever else she can dream up. When asked if she could make an apron for me Elina said “yes” and showed up the next day, having walked the five miles from her house to see me, with several samples for my review. Overwhelmed by both her initiative and her meticulous work, I hired Elina immediately and we began to work on what are now the first (of many) Beaded Hope aprons.
Along with always having a heart for Africa I have always loved to cook and when I do you will find me with an apron tied around my waist. Now, as I wear my new apron from Elina, I am reminded of the power of a simple act of kindness, the amazing generosity of a nation of people and the pure joy that comes from sharing bread with friends and family. And I have the women of Beaded Hope to thank for this lesson.
Inspired to bake some bread? Check out this recipe and enjoy!