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Issue 14-5

Passionate People Step Up

This is exciting! Two weeks ago, I wrote a Soulish Food e-newsletter, Looking for Passionate People. My decreasing lifeline reminds me that I am going to need teams of people with passion and various expertise to help me complete the tasks at hand.

I am actively hunting for people (men and women) with passion for the world to join the adventure of building the Global Bag Project into something that makes a difference in the world.

This month I’m concerned about the
Global Bag Project, the microenterprise project we co-founded with African friends in Nairobi, Kenya. One passionate person, who stepped up before my Soulish Food appeal, is an answer to some long-time prayers and an example of the kind of help we need.

Meet Elizabeth Thompson. Among many other areas of expertise, Elizabeth has a background in microenterprise development. In a life transition herself, Elizabeth has nevertheless found time to consult with us once a week. Heather Ann Martinez, our U.S. Global Bag Project Manager, and I are thrilled!

Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson

You can imagine how I felt when I read part of Elizabeth Thompson’s resume:

Entrepreneur and chief operator of a small wholesale manufacturing business. Designed and marketed beaded bookmarks, keychains, eyeglass accessories, cell phone accessories, and pens, selling to national and international bookstore chains.

• Designed the products and developed production and distribution strategies
• Conceived and implemented workflows to organize production, maintain inventory, and ensure quality control
• Maintained positive relationships with customers through management of sales, marketing, and invoicing procedures
• Hired, trained, and managed employees and employee payroll
• Spearheaded establishment of production facility in Nicaragua
• Guided and empowered Nicaraguan employees in manufacturing, management Accounting, and import/export procedures towards their receipt of the 2007 Quantity, Quality, and Care Award from the Ministry of Exportation
• Led company to growth of eight times the production and nearly four times the distribution within the first three years
• Invented the “Si, Sio Processio” motivational tool to cultivate a “can-do” company culture.


Elizabeth Thompson’s help is proving to be invaluable. Are there any more of you passionate people out there?

We’re looking to fill out the Global Bag Project team with the following passionate folk:

1. Someone who will head up the GBP Home Party events. The Home Parties are the best place for us to tell the story of the women and show the full range of homemade “bag” projects they create from the traditional East African colorful printed kanga-cloth. For those living close to West Chicago, we are giving a demonstration Mother's Day Bag Sale party. Come and see. Details below, in NOTICES.

2. People who feel led to help underwrite Mary Ogalo’s salary with one-time gifts or on a monthly basis. These gifts are tax-deductible. Of the $1800 we need for Mary’s back salary, we have raised $550. Gifts totaling another $1250 will catch us up. You can donate through the Web site, You can also send checks to Global Bag Project, Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187.

Karen Mains



Etsy, one of the largest online marketplaces for vibrant handmade products, which has allowed only independent artisan-makers to participate, recently changed its rules. Cottage industries have been invited to join. This means that the Global Bag Project now qualifies! We have registered online and are developing the systems that will allow us to be active in a short time.

GBP kanga-cloth bags on a Kenyan fence
GBP kanga-cloth bags on a Kenyan fence

kanga-cloth fabrics on a chair
more East African fabrics on chair

Bag Party for Mom's Day Bag Gifts

On Saturday, April 18, I invite you to a Buy a Bag for Mom Party, at our home in West Chicago. Email Karen Mains for directions to house at If you can run in for one hour from 2:00 to 4:00, we have a good supply of bags from Kenya. All bags are 20% off during the month of April. Mother’s Day is the 10th. Our large sustainable bags, made from the beautiful, traditional East African kanga-cloth, are fabulous for making an ecological statement while grocery shopping. Medium bags are great for toting, tucking into the car for those quick trips and small item purchases. The small bags make wonderful Bible bags or book bags to give to members of your reading group.

Check out the Global Bag Party Web site, for bag ideas, and drop by West Chicago for an afternoon shopping trip. We are also open to brainstorming ways to increase bag sales.

Buy a Mother's Day Bag, help another mother.

Danielle Crilly at the French Market in Wheaton
eco-fashion statement at local French Market

Global Bag Project Soulish Food Blitz

This month, once a week, we will be sending out a Global Bag Project highlight (our Soulish Food is usually a monthly or bi-monthly e-newsletter). We have not been able to help Mary Ogalo as much as we would like, so we are blitzing our lists in order to raise funds to underwrite our Kenya Project Director’s salary and to boost the sales of bags and aprons. Thanks for understanding and helping.


The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to

Karen Mains

Karen Mains

"Elizabeth Thompson’s help is proving to be invaluable. Are there any more of you passionate people out there?"
Stories of My Life
by Katherine Paterson

Members of my memoir-writing teleconference class are keeping me informed about books I am loving to read. Someone recently mentioned Katherine Paterson’s Stories of My Life. Katherine is the author of many prize-winning children’s books, including Bridge to Terabithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved and The Master Puppeteer. Her work has won two Newbery Medals, two National Book Awards, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

What many people who love Paterson’s books do not know is that her parents were missionaries in China, and the personal stories out of her own childhood are breathtaking and poignant. Katherine also married a Presbyterian minister, and while her books have made her way successfully in the secular marketplace, they are loaded with moral meaning and Christian values. Katherine’s writing is always simple but never simplistic; and her style is the same in these autobiographic accounts of stories she has selected from her life. I am enjoying the reading immensely and recommend the book to anyone who has loved her work.

After graduating from college with a literary degree, Katherine trained for missionary work and served in Japan, herself a Presbyterian missionary. Her path reveals a clear-cut Christian witness. Naturally, I love it!

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