Prisca is one of the most phenomenal women I know and I think before you know anything else about her, you have to know that she has the best laugh I’ve ever heard (high pitched, soft, and short if you can imagine it; I promise, it’s great.). She loves Nigerian films and always begs me to stay late and spend the night at her home with her family. She was one of the very first ladies at One Mango Tree and because of her incredible integrity and work ethic, she now manages the office in Gulu on a daily basis. She has a quiet disposition but works incredibly hard from dusk through dawn: in the office, she’s taking care of the women, making sure they have everything they need, that deadlines are met, and things are running smoothly. She has a lot on her plate. At home, she’s taking care of three beautiful babes, cooking, and cleaning… and there’s a particularly remarkable thread of consistency running through all areas of her life – she is consistently sacrificing for those around her.
She and her husband live just outside of Gulutown and because of the economic stability she’s developed through working at One Mango Tree, they’re close to finishing a brand new home… but this time, rather than a circular mud hut, it’s a solid brick and mortar home. It’s beautiful and should be finished in December… don’t worry, we’ll invite you to the house party!
To say her home life is full of laughter might be an understatement… and it’s all thanks to these three. Goretty, at 4, is her youngest and she is always bouncing, smiling, and trying to be helpful. Once, we decided to surprise Prisca by cleaning up the house and after mopping one small area of the floor, Goretty got ambitious and decided to mop the entire house without being asked. Isaac, at 7, is the only boy and definitely takes after his father (who works in construction) as he wanders everywhere with a hammer in hand. He’s incredibly bright, number one in his class to be exact. When he's not studying english and math, he's running around, building things, and climbing trees for mangos. He also has an affinity for pushing Prisca’s buttons which most definitely prepares her for life at the OMT office. Cynthia, at 9, is the oldest and the one thing you’ll notice about her is that she’s always laughing. Prisca confidently describes Cynthia as “stubborn” which really means she's extremely outgoing compared to other girls within the Acholi culture.
For all the conversations I’ve had with Prisca, there’s one statement that continues to return to me: “Without One Mango, I wouldn’t be able to take care of my family. My one hope is that we can keep making our bags and that people will keep enjoying them.”
I say this time and time again but your purchases are changing lives. Halle developed One Mango Tree as a way of using trade to provide a sustainable income and empower the local women of Northern Uganda. We’ve seen exponential growth in the hearts and lives of our women; these stories are rich and full of proof that when you empower a woman, you’re changing the lives of everyone in direct community with her. So, thank you to those of you who love and share the story of One Mango Tree with friends, families, and strangers. It’s because of you that all of this is taking place. Making the conscious choice to value the person who makes what you purchase truly transforms everything.
In the words of Donald Miller (one of my favorite authors), "The stories we hear change the way we see life. Stories teach us what is worth pursuing, what is worth living for, what is worth sacrificing for. If you aren’t telling a good story to the people you love, who is? Is it the television, your kids friends, your wife’s boss, the girl who works at you husbands gym?”
To see more photos from my visit with Prisca on our brand new FLICKR.