Livelihood Projects - Kenya - Mama John's Kids
Heavenly Treasures met Mama John in 2002 when she was making beautiful beaded bowls but was also suffering from AIDS.  Before she passed away, she taught her children how to make the beaded work, which they continue today. AIDS is more than a terrible disease. It affects not o­nly millions of people but also their immediate families. Mama John's son, Jean Claude (John), writes about their story:

I am glad to be able to share with you how we left our beloved country of Burundi. It would be wrong to talk about us without talking about our home country. We lived in Bujumbura, Burundi not far from the presidential palace. o­n October 21, 1993 we were woken up by gunfire and the sound of armored vehicles It was o­n this night the first Hutu president who was democratically elected was killed by the Tutsi army (they have basically be in control of the country since independence in 1962). After the news spread that the President had been killed all hell broke loose. Killings started all over the country and it became hell o­n earth. Our father took refuge in the mountains and for months we stayed home until we had secretly left the house o­ne night leaving everything behind. It was horrible but God protected us. In this type of situation you just hang o­n God and believe you will see tomorrow despite everything around you telling you, ?you are going to die?. We survived but anger was looming everywhere and it was possible to die in the street or in your home.

Through it all God saw us and we managed to leave the country that we loved so much. It was heartbreaking to leave our home, a country we never thought we would leave. We took the road to Tanzania and crossed into Kenya. When a person gets stuck in life, some result in criminal activities while others search for what talents God put in them and how to utilize them. When we got to Kenya we literally had nothing and we searched for those talents. Our mother knew how to make beaded items from her mother, and our mother then taught us. Out of these beads we were able to face tomorrow, they are our source of livelihood. We thank God for every item which is bought since it helps to meet our needs and have a hope for tomorrow. The Lord has given us hope and we thank everyone that has been an instrument that God is using.

In 2006, all but o­ne of Mama John's children has had the opportunity to make a new life for themselves in Canada.  The beaded bowl project continues, and we have been blessed by their work and their lives.