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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ian lead me down the garden path.

It’s Sunday morning and I just woke up in Johannesburg and checked my email and Facbook.  Thank you Penny Smucker for asking if I was okay?  Why?  Because she missed my blog yesterday.  What?  I forgot to blog?  How could that be?  It was all Ian’s fault … he lead me down the garden path.

For my friends out there you may be happy to know that Ian and I spent a fun day together just doing “stuff” in Johannesburg as we wait to pick up Jimmy Wilferth and the 2013 interns from the airport today.  We checked prices on furniture and blinds for the toddler home, we spend the whole morning at The Bead Shop, we had a nice lunch together and then spent time doing some other miscellaneous shopping that can’t be done in Swaziland. Then we had a date night at one of our favorite restaurants called Adega (Portugese restaurant specializing in seafood).  It was a wonderful day, and I forgot to blog.  It really wasn’t Ian’s fault at all, it was my “almost 50-year old brain” combined with a fun day that distracted me from my weekly intention.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Some of you (men) are wondering why Ian would spend the whole morning at The Bead Shop?  And for those of you who know me well you are wondering the same thing about me.  Let me tell you a bit about self-sustainable farming and jewelry making and how they go hand in hand.

One of the goals of Project Canaan is to become totally self-sustainable.  Specifically, that means growing the food/animals that we need to provide for those of us living on the farm and generating enough income from what we produce to be able to run the farm as well as care for the children living at the El Roi Baby Home.  It is a daunting task.  While we are proud to be able to create employment in a country where there is close to 70% unemployment and we love that we can produce good quality vegetables to sell in local markets and stores, it simply isn’t enough to generate significant income.  The harvests are never quite what we would hope they would be, new insect varieties continue to challenge the team to maximize productivity and weather is a variable that we can’t control. 

What does that have to do with The Bead Shop? 

As marketers Ian and I are always trying to think outside the box.  What can we “produce” on Project Canaan that can be sold within the country and/or exported to generate more income? That is where the Khutsala Artisans Shop comes in (and our Saturday morning at The Bead Shop).

Becky, Dana, Gwyn, Barbara, Mela and Eleasha
 At the beginning of June we had a wonderful team of volunteers from the US who are brilliant designers of jewelry and accessories. I had the privilege of working with some of them in Kenya a few years ago and now we found ourselves gathered together in Swaziland to create new designs for the women of Swaziland to produce and the people of the world to purchase.  We had a fun-filled, action packed week together and they created infinity scarves, handbags and every type of jewelry that could appeal to all ages and tastes.  It was amazing to see them at work as a team and use the gifts that the Lord has given them including knitting, crocheting, sewing and pure jewelry design.

Yesterday we spent Saturday morning at The Bead Shop in Johannesburg buying “ingredients” or “findings”, as they are called in the jewelry world, so that we can start teaching a special group of women in Swaziland how to make these beautiful things.   Not only will they be able to earn an income to provide for their families, but the Khutsala Artisans Shop will be able to help contribute to the overall sustainability of Project Canaan and the children at the El Roi Baby Home.  

Swazi coins make these bracelets very special
 While I am not a “beader” myself, I will admit to being more than overwhelmed in a store with 15,000 SKU’s all requiring reading glasses to see individually.  It was exciting to be able to pick up this order knowing that many people around the world will enjoy wearing their new jewelry designed in Swaziland while supporting the work at Project Canaan.  Thank you Jamie Klee for taking the lead on this project and having the spreadsheet and samples so perfectly prepared. I/we would not have survived Saturday morning without your incredible preparation.

You the reader may not be able to buy the cabbage produced on Project Canaan to help us, but you can buy our jewelry once it is being made and made available.

Litsemba Bracelet

I have included a couple of sneak-peak photos of some of the first pieces that we plan to produce.  We will let you know how and where you can buy them, but in the mean time, we will get busy producing them and preparing to help the entire project generate income.  Self-sustainability is a team effort and we are bringing in more people to join the team!

Infinity scarf made with traditional cloth from the country of Mali.
Never ending variety of earrings
Live from Johannesburg … it’s Sunday morning and I had a great day yesterday.


  1. Great news to hear, Janine, that you and Ian had a nice day together (despite the shopping involved)! Also, the plans for jewelry sales are exciting -- I remember fun times in Kinagop, Kenya 2009 with some of those talented jewelry designers.

  2. I'm so crazy excited about this!!! I will be praying (and then promoting) the jewelry as soon as it's ready!!! :)

  3. This is great and everything is absolutely beautiful!! I bought one of the bracelets (large, round beads, each a different color with a blue flat circle center piece with a hand print) that was being sold to support El Roi several months back. Weren't those made at Project Canaan as well? It's my fave bracelet and I wear it frequently. Look forward to trying to help sell some of this jewelry..and looking forward to buying an infinity scarf!!!!!!! Looking forward to another monthly update! ;o) God bless.
    PS- Do you have any updated pics of all the babies? I feel like I know them... Caleb and Levi would be my babies if I were there!!

  4. ^^ It's me, Haley Lofton. ;o) Sorry ab that!