Recently I was invited by Denise Jackson, owner of the Emerging Art Scene Gallery in Castleberry Hill, to attend an event at the gallery that was unlike any other. This event, aptly named Market Rwanda, would showcase a distinctive collection of beautiful handmade jewelry, home decor, and garments made by women from the impoverished country of Rwanda. Proceeds from the event would benefit One Hundred Days, a non-profit organization which aims to build Rwanda’s first pediatric hospital.
Linda Cox, Humanitarian & Author of “They Had to Run”, spearheaded the event which also featured a guest appearance by 2008 Miss America Kirsten Haglund.
Upon entering the gallery I was immediately taken in by the wonderful collection of jewelry on display. We all know how much I love jewelry (among other things of course), and this was just the setting for me to partake in my indulgence. 😀
Now, I’ve been to quite a few events where beautiful jewelry was on the menu, and I’ve even “nibbled” a few times (or more in most cases); But this time, there was something special about these pieces, as they were unlike anything I’d seen (or bought) before. So, as I proceeded to go for a closer look, I was greeted by a lady standing near the display who was wearing one of the pieces around her neck. Of course I did the proverbial jaw-drop as it was absolutely AMAZING with its ornate and intricate design. I had to know more!
As the suspense was getting the best of me, I couldn’t help but ask her about the piece. She introduced herself as Linda Cox, and proceeded to give me the back-story behind this distinctive assortment of gorgeous neck-wear and accessories. She stated that this was no ordinary collection of jewelry, as each piece was hand crafted by the women of Rwanda. She then offered to show me some of the other pieces, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the one she was wearing. Linda noticed my childlike amazement and proceeded to remove this unique accessory from around her neck; and in a gesture of goodwill she then placed it around mine. As this gorgeous neck-wear lay on my shoulders, I couldn’t help but reflect on the significance in the moment as this was truly a work of art and deserving of its presence in the gallery. I could only imagine the undertaking that went into creating this masterpiece.
During the presentation segment, Linda shared the inspiration behind her book “They Had to Run”, which is based on the real life story of the Linda’s Rwandan friends, Simon and Kedress Nziramakenga. In the book, Simon and Kedress flee from Rwanda to escape the war, but then return as strong leaders on a mission to build restoration in their native country. What an inspirational story of deliverance, hope, and triumph. Proceeds from the book go towards fulfilling Simon’s vision of holistic restoration through the construction of the Good Shepherd Community Hospital for Children in Kigali, Rwanda. This endeavor is part of the One Hundred Days mission.
Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008, also spoke about the incredible efforts of the organization and what she experienced during her journey to Rwanda.
Other speakers included Kelli Sasser, Founder of One Hundred Days, and Anna Sasser, who is part of the Million Kid Movement, which is a teen-based subsidiary of the One Hundred Days organization.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Tamika Morrison of T.Morrison Agency, who was responsible for the PR work behind this extraordinary event.
The presentation concluded with Linda urging everyone to support this effort to provide health care for the Rwandan children by purchasing the items on display in the gallery.
Well Linda, I’d personally like to start with that gorgeous necklace you’re wearing….You know; the one I couldn’t take my eyes off of. 😀
Please support this extraordinary effort by Linda Cox and the One Hundred Days organization to provide health care for the Rwandan children by visiting www.onehundreddays.org.
OH! Nikka! It was so fun to meet you at Market Rwanda! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this blog post! Yea! Fun! Love it! …and you look absolutely, stunningly fabulous in that necklace! Look on the One Hundred Days Face Book page to see yourself as an exquisite model for the ladies of Rwanda. Hope to be with you again soon!
I had a wonderful time meeting you as well. I love this necklace, so much!!! Linda you are doing wonderful things. I will spread the word about One hundred days, and please keep me informed on future events. Take care and I will talk with you soon!!
Nikka – it was such a pleasure meeting you! I hope you are enjoying your jewelry :))
Nikka, Thanks for this beautiful post about Market Rwanda. I hope your readers will look for upcoming markets put together by this charitable organization on their One Hundred Days website. The jewelry, baby items and home decor make perfect gifts, or a special treat for yourself. I know I will be doing a lot of holiday shopping with them!
Hope to see you at the gallery again soon! Denise