Friday night, Oct 10th, was the big event: Sankofa – Looking Back, Walking Forward – a Fashion Narrative. It was indescribable! One thousand women filled the sanctuary, enthralled by the women’s beauty and captivated by their stories. Here are the two directors introducing the show, Mary from Kenya and Rachel from DC.
Three women gave a narrative of three different stories describing what has happened to many of the women who come to Amani in Kenya. Each story was told in three parts and the clothes reflected the emotion of the stories of – Separation, Transformation and Celebration. One woman described how she gathered her children in the middle of the night and hurried them to the car. They drove for two hours before she told them that they had just left their home for the last time and would never return again. Another described how they were running and falling and hiding. How after days they were so hungry but they had no food, no water. She scooped her hands together and dipped them into a mud puddle just to get something to drink. Another described the lines in her heart that she had drawn within, where she would never let anyone cross again.
They got a standing ovation after the first set of stories and fashions! But it was only the beginning. During the next set they described stories of forgiveness and healing as they relinquished their rights to be bitter and to hate the men who had killed their families. This was where they told of transformation through the hope and healing love of Jesus Christ. Where they learned to trust again. To make friends again, to live and breath again. Where they found the strength to tell their stories and to share their pain with one another, knowing they were not alone. Their costumes were changing from dark to colorful and their personalities were becoming more playful.
The next phase was celebration, highlighting stories of new beginnings. Honestly, I don’t remember much of what was said from that point on in the narrative because I was totally captivated with the glory of God that shone in their faces, beamed from their eyes and radiated in their smiles. Their costumes and their countenance depicted true beauty! I have NEVER experienced anything like it. It was an unbelievable night!
Afterwards, we gathered in the hallways taking photos and giving hugs. There was something different about the way we saw each other now. It was a turning point in our relationships with each other. They had shared their stories and maybe now it was time for us to share ours. It was as though we had invited them into our homes and now they were letting us into their hearts on a whole new level. Bonds of sisterhood and friendships were forming. I wondered what God wanted me to do next. “Keep loving and serving them.” He whispered.
We stayed until midnight dismantling the set, taking down hair-dos, organizing costumes, removing items from the boutique and packing boxes so the U-Haul could be loaded the next day in preparation for their next show in the Washington, DC area. I couldn’t believe it was almost over and they would be leaving soon.