Stuffing my car with TWB photographs, brochures, and Rwandan-artisan crafts, I meandered across Eastern Colorado into the panhandle of Oklahoma to share our work at a training last week for church leaders across the Cimarron District of the state. I brought our recipes too, knowing that I would be baking and sharing the story behind our bread.
My grandfather has lived in this part of the state for over 20 years, and in that time, has become a prominent leader in their community - particularly when it comes to training and speaking events for the United Methodist Church. He invited me to come and take part, most specifically as an ambassador and educator for the work of The Women's Bakery.
I prepared a lesson on Rwanda's reconciliation process in addition to the material already put together to share about The Women's Bakery. I was ready to take part; I have always loved teaching (and my grandfather would add that I have always loved talking) and doing so about The Women's Bakery is quite natural. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the enthusiasm and engagement of the participants.
Participants at this leadership conference came with intriguing questions and profound insights, ranging from inquiries like, "how is the increase of income for women perceived by men in the communities you work?" and "how can you measure the impact of the feeling of a woman being able to provide for her family?"
The provision for families, the access to education, and of course, the nutritional bread were the pillars of our work that captured this particular audience the most. With many of the participants coming from small, rural communities in the United States, they could understand the importance of having a skill that provides a job - most of the audience had at some point in their life, been involved with farming and working the land!
Our work resonated deeply with this small community and it reminded me of the importance of sharing our work with anyone. Opportunity is a big deal - no matter where you are from - and it's for this reason that I am proud to share, promote, and work for The Women's Bakery.