Although the building that Amani Ya Juu resides in is breathtakingly beautiful, the story of refugee women coming together from all around Africa to work together under God's peace to provide support and love for each other is incredible.
By Cassidy Dutton
Day 4 - NAIROBI
Today, after spending a wonderfully joyful morning at Maji Mazuri, we made our way to Amani Ya Juu which means “peace from above”. I knew that we were going to be eating lunch, shopping, and taking a tour of the production area, but I had no idea that God was going to speak to the team so loudly in that place.
We ate a delicious lunch in the garden and shopped around a little bit in the store before our tour. All of the products in the shop were so beautiful and well made, but until I learned the story behind them I couldn’t fully appreciate how special each item was.
After we finished our lunch we began our tour. Our guide (unfortunately I didn’t catch her name) was so passionate and knowledgeable about the inner workings of the company. We started upstairs in the production room where they had rows and rows of industrial sewing machines. She explained that all of the women who work there can either work at Amani Ya Juu, or they can cut out the patterns and then work from home because many of them have large families to care for.
After showing us the quilting machines, our guide led us into a room with a huge quilt hanging on one of the walls. She explained that this was the unity quilt. “The unity quilt was made by African women from many different nationalities in Africa. Each panel of the unity quilt illustrates how reconciliation is celebrated traditionally by their people.”
We made our way downstairs into a small storage room with boxes of products that they ship around the world. Our guide explained that this was the small garage in which the company started. They began in 1996 with three women and one product, and now they employ over 85 women and make 300 products. The women also hand dye and print the textiles as well as utilize the fallout fabric in different products.
After the tour the team went back into the store with a new appreciation for all of the beautiful products. Sara Ruth, Jaley, Natalie, Kelley, and I had to get back in line multiple times because we continued to find more and more things we wanted to take home with us.
One of the girls who was working the register saw the Pi Beta Phi shirt I was wearing and told us that she was a Pi Phi at Baylor and was currently doing an international internship at Amani Ya Juu. What a small world!
Although the building that Amani Ya Juu resides in is breathtakingly beautiful, the story of refugee women coming together from all around Africa to work together under God's peace to provide support and love for each other is incredible. Their mission statement is “sowing peace through the eye of a needle.”
You can truly feel God's peace and love that radiates from that place. It is so evident that the Lord is the center of their work. Through this I saw how powerful the Lord is when we let go and let him take control of our lives. I am studying apparel merchandising and product development in school, so the tour was so special to me. I was able to see everything that I have been learning be applied in such an amazing way to glorify the Lord and spread the message of peace to each person who comes in contact with one of their products.
Today was filled with so much joy, laughter, and most importantly, peace.
Top photo: A mosaic in the production room at Amani Ya Juu: "Together we are transformed."
Amani Ya Juu
Cassidy Dutton, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a junior at the University of Arkansas studying apparel merchandising and product development as well as marketing. She and fellow mission trip participants Paeton, Sara Ruth, and Natalie, are sorority sisters in Pi Beta Phi at the university.