by Lizzie Wirgau This past Sunday, I received word that Esther, a craftsman for Market Colors in Kenya, lost her battle with AIDS. Esther, 33, had been told that a special drink would cure her illness and that she no longer needed to take her medication. I share this not to pull on heartstrings or to bring any shame to Esther but to communicate the weight of very real corruption throughout the world.
When I was 15, I became very passionate about the organization To Write Love On Her Arms. I think I was first drawn to them for their interesting shirts that I saw celebrities wearing -- such as my favorite - Bryce Avery. TWLOHA has an inspiring story that goes along with their mission and vision. In it, they write, “We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.” I’ve come back to this quote countless times when I’ve needed inspiration but also when I’ve needed to be lifted off the ground from heartbreaking news.
I want our customers and readers to know that many of the craftsmen we are partnered with in Africa come from very difficult backgrounds and are working through incredible struggles. Many of their challenges look different than ours. Thinking on Esther’s passing has caused many of us to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. But it’s also emphasized the burden Market Colors was created to bear: to transform lives for these craftsmen. We realize we can’t fix things and we know that we are new at this. But we also realize that we are able to play a very real part in changing lives and giving opportunity. In the wake of something so tragic, it’s apparent that this needs to happen now. It’s what God has called us to as an organization.
Many of you have received products made by Esther. She worked on the laptop cases, iPad carriers, and Mini Bags. I hope that when you do stumble upon her product card, you are compelled to do something. Market Colors was called to transform lives for African craftsmen and to do our best to be “lovers bold in broken places.” What are you called to do?
Please keep Esther’s family in your prayers. Esther’s husband died recently so her three children are now left orphaned. May her story motivate you to discover what God is calling you to do. For information about how you can support Esther’s family, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In memory of Esther Wanjiku Wacera