Home > Andrew's Blogs, Mango Mission > Mango Mission # 15: Nogbedji’s Sewing School

Mango Mission # 15: Nogbedji’s Sewing School

Update # 15 from ABWE Missionaries in Mango, Togo – Northern Hospital Outreach.  A simple sewing school may bring grace into the lives of young Togolese women and hospital property still not approved.

February 22, 2009

I need to get this written while we still have power.  We are on a schedule of eight hours on, eight off, with the added problem of electric company employees who can’t remember or don’t care about the schedule.  Our schedule today was power off from 6:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Then power was to be on until 10:00 p.m.  Esther and I went out for a bike ride, and came home a little after 6:00 and found that our power was turned off!  It’s back on, after I went to the company headquarters in town and complained to several young employees who were sitting out in front of the small structure where we pay our bills and try to make sense of their service.  I don’t know if that visit is what got our power turned back on, or if it is only coincidence that it was turned on five minutes after I was there.  In any case, we are thankful to be able to run fridge and freezer for a while longer before it will be turned off for the night.  This is scheduled to go on for nearly another two weeks, while they work on the generators.  We can put up with the eight on and eight off, but the caprice with which they keep the schedule wears on everybody.

Even the power at the hospital is turned off, and they evidently don’t have a working generator.  Beni, Niles’ language helper, tells of going to visit a relative in the hospital the other night.  Power was off, and he found the hospital employees all outside, because they couldn’t do anything in the dark.  As he looked for his family member, he came into a room, and found a solitary elderly lady crying in the dark, with nobody there to comfort her or to provide the help she needed.  This hospital is bad enough when you can see.  It’s a nightmare when you can’t.

Nogbedji spent several days last week visiting prospective apprentices for his sewing school, and the student body is growing slowly.  The stories he tells are indicative of the great spiritual needs of the people up here.  There is one 17-year old girl who is being forced into marriage by her parents, and when she refused and went to the Préfet, her parents disowned her.  They went as far as to say that if she dies, the Préfet and the director of social affairs can bury her. Nogbedji tried to show them the benefit of allowing her to be trained so that she can contribute to family income and not be totally dependent on a husband who will likely have several other wives.  We are waiting and praying to see if God will move their hearts to allow this girl to come to Nogbedji’s school.

Another case involved a widow with six children.  The custom here is for a widow to marry one of her husband’s relatives.  This lady refused, saying that she had loved her husband, and had no desire to marry someone else.  The family then persecuted her and withdrew all financial support for her children.  She had to leave her home and is now living some distance away from Mango.  She has a daughter who is old enough to take the three-year program to become a seamstress, but this widow has no money with which to pay the $30 dollar fee that the program requires.  The reason for the fee, by the way, is to require some sort of contribution from the family. Nogbedji explains to them that if the family contributes nothing, the student will tend to say that they did nothing to help him or her with training, and it will lead to a lack of respect for, and submission to the family.  In this case he decided to waive the fee, given the circumstances in which this widow is living.

Classes are to start in March, and I will be going to Lome this week with Nogbedji to buy the additional six machines need for the school.  Thanks again for all who contributed to make this school possible.  I’ll be sending pictures once the program is up and running.

This is getting old, I know, but please continue to pray about property for the hospital.  It is an interesting situation, and I’m not free at this point to go into detail, however, the affair could be taken before the president of the country before it is finished.  We will appreciate your prayer support in all of this, especially asking that God will grant us wisdom, and favor with those who are authority.

Yours in His service,

Tim & Esther Neufeld

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