A few months ago, I was contacted by Michelle Wood from Ouelessebougou Utah Alliance about donating some blue bijou jewelry for their upcoming dinner auction in May. She also invited us to attend the dinner auction, which we graciously accepted. We were not expecting what we saw last night.
As stated on their website, “The Ouelessebougou Utah Alliance is a non-profit organization, which works cooperatively with villagers in Ouelessebougou and the surrounding region of Mali in West Africa.” Here’s some African trivia for you – Timbuktu is part of Mali! Who knew?
The dinner auction was held at the elegant Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City and there were hundreds of people in attendance. The donated items included photography services (I think we won the shoot with Silver Pelican Photography, one of my local favorites!), jewelry, art and sculptures, a Wii system and even a $5000 scooter! The rooms were teeming over with people bidding on their favorite items.
We watched a piece of African Butterfly Art (handcrafted with butterflies) start for auction at $600 and close out at a whopping $2200!
I was surprised at how far our donations go in Mali. $25 will pay for school supplies for 1695 students and $200 will send 26 students to school this year! Isn’t that incredible? A village chief said, “Before the school came, our village was in darkness, after the school came, we came into light.”
The dinner served was extraordinary – absolutely delicious! One of the slides that came across the screen as we ate said, “If you can read this, have shoes on your feet & can choose from 2 or 3 foods to eat, you are among the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the world.” We are truly blessed.
The Ambassador of Mali was in attendance yesterday evening and we had the privilege to hear from him. We learned that in Mali, wealth is measured, not by money, but by hope. Thus the theme for the evening, Harvesting Hope.
What an incredible experience! We were inspired by the words we heard, by the abundance we forget we enjoy and the rewarding feeling that comes from giving. To make a contribution today or volunteer with the Oulessebougou Utah Alliance, click here.