Meet the Artisan: Victoria Ihula

making beads
making ornaments

In her own words:
(translated from Oshiwambo by Isabella Shilongo)

" When I first started working here atWork Of Our Hands, I started in the middle of the month and therefore I got paid N$400 ( about US $ 40 )  That day I couldn't eat or sleep or do anything because I was overjoyed and couldn't believe that I too could improve my own life and make my own money. I told myself that I too can come out of poverty. This is my first job ever.

Now, I make 3 or 4 times what my first salary was depending on how much I work that month. My husband does not have a stable job and so we couldn’t afford our own zinc house, we use to rent at the place where our landlord acts like he is tired of us although we were paying our rent on time. 
With the money I earn from working at Work of Our Hands, I with a little help from one of my relative, I bought materials to make my own house which tate Lon help me with transportation for free. We are now freely living in that house and I still can’t believe that I myself could afford to build my own place with the money that I myself earned. My life and the life of my children improved. I even have a bank account now which I never thought I will have.

I have 2 children that I support with the money I earn and a number of extended family members that I support and are very grateful that they have the aunt that supports them.
I am very grateful for meme and tate for coming to Namibia just for us. Our project is the only one that I know that creates jobs for people in Okahandja and we work peacefully and we have freedom of when to come to work but still earns more that some people that works at the farms or in some shops.
I thank God for meme and tate and I don’t know what I will do if I lose this job. "

Further translation:

*zinc house: house about 10 ' x 10' made of corrugated metal with a dirt or concrete floor and no      running water
* Meme and Tate : exact translation,  is mom and dad, but the terms are used as a way to respectfully  address someone older than you are

Vicky is on the top row left side. Everyone is trying to stay warm with hot tea. Namibia in the winter is like can sometimes dip into  near freezing temperatures and almost no buildings have heat. It's usually cold in the mornings, then warms up with the sun, but buildings stay cool. We joke that it's the only country where you go outside to warm up.

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