Presenting Uhuru, the pig
Uhuru is a pig.
I crocheted Uhuru so I could sell him on my Etsy shop.
Why am I seemingly going into pork belly futures?
To help teenage girls in northern Ghana; to help them determine their own futures; to help them develop a means of long-term support for themselves and their families. Without this support they will most likely be forced into polygamous marriages with men who are many years older than themselves.
Uhuru is the Swahili word for "Freedom." Freedom for the girls in northern Ghana comes cheap, by our standards - it comes in the form of a couple of pigs or a sewing machine. That what it takes for them to buy their way out.
Each time a customer buys a pig from my store, I will donate $10 to Compassion for Africa, a ministry started by my friend Dr. Joe Gorman, a professor at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
So why am I so interested in this project?
In 2011, Pastor Frank Mills in Ghana wrote to Dr. Gorman about a young girl named Adiza (age 16 or 17) who had intentionally jumped from a moving vehicle to avoid a forced marriage. This was part of an e-mail that Dr. Gorman sent out:
"On the 12th November, Adiza’s father forced her into a commercial van and asked the driver to speed so that he could get the girl to her new husband as quickly as possible. While the van was going very fast, the girl pretended she wanted some fresh air, opened the window, and then jumped through the window. She died on the spot. It was so sad. This one is too horrible for me, because I knew Adiza personally.
Adiza is not a member of the Church of the Nazarene. She was actually a Muslim whom we were trying to win to Christ and the church. This is the fourth time that I have heard of a girl taking her life because she didn’t want to marry an old man (In Adiza's case, the man was 66 years-old and already had two wives). Usually the girls have no choice but to sadly accept the man chosen by her parents or family elders. Many of the girls despair so much that they take their own life.
"The leaders of the Girls Who Love Jesus Club [sort of the northern Ghanaian equivalent of the YMCA that Nazarene girls have started with Frank and Hanna Mills’ help] informed me of Adiza’s immediate need so we approached her parents and even promised to help her learn a trade and provide her with two pigs for her future needs. We could not succeed because her father was more interested in quickly giving her away into marriage in return for four cows. This is so sad. I cried when Adiza was being buried.
"Please we currently have sixteen girls on the needy list that has been presented to me by the Girls who Love Jesus Club. We have interviewed all 16 and wish we are able to help them this Christmas. Ten of them will be fine with just two pigs each and six of them will need to be enrolled in some kind of vocation, such as sewing (it costs $100 for a sewing machine here). Unfortunately, we served twelve girls in the last four months and we have run out of funds.
And, Dr. Gorman writes:
For almost two years Compassion for Africa has been supporting girls in northern Ghana with a pair of pigs as a way for them to support themselves on a long-term basis. To date we have provided over seventy girls with a pair of pigs. Pigs have two to three litters of piglets a year with anywhere from eight to sixteen piglets in a litter. As soon as a girl’s pig has its first litter, two of the piglets are given to the Girls Who Love Jesus Club who administrates The Wilbur Project and interviews girls who are interested in being part of the project.
May we never forget Adiza. May her life spur all of us on to serve Christ so that no other girls die like she did.
We women here in America are so fortunate in that we can choose our own husband, go to school, learn a trade, start our own business - the possibilities are endless for us. However, in other countries many young women are not so lucky. I want to help these young girls because everyone should have the freedom to live as God would want them to.
If you would like to donate to Dr. Gorman's ministry without buying a pig, click here.
With every purchase, I will send my customers a pamphlet about Compassion for Africa.