Keene Township woman using handbags to support families in Africa

Local News

A woman from Keene township says her trip to Africa has changed her view on life, so, she’s deciding to give back.

KX News had the chance to sit down with her as she explains her plans to do that one handbag at a time.

“It really kind of just been on my heart for my whole teenage years to go on a mission trip.” Keene Resident Mariah Thompson said.

Thompson has longed for an opportunity to lend a hand outside of her own community.

“I kept waiting on the right time and then my best friend kind of hopped on board and we just kind of researched our options and we found a company called Adventures and Missions and that’s how we found this orphanage,” Thompson said.

Two years ago Thompson and her friend took off to Ethiopia.

“It was just amazing.” Johnson said. “You just thought that you were going to be offering them something.”

Those nine days changed her life.

“After a trip like that you can’t really just come back home and go settle back into normal life because it was so transformative,” she said.

So, she decided to do something.

“On our way back to the airport when we were leaving, we stopped at this little leather shop ran by the man who ran the orphanage and we decided to clear out his little shop,” Thompson said.

She bought nearly 200 bags, and brought them back here to North Dakota.

Now she’s trying to make enough money to send back to Ethiopia.

“It costs about $20,000.” she said.

Johnson wants to build a home that could house nine people, mainly eight children.

Which could open up opportunities for the family.

“So that house mother is employed by the orphanage, so that supplies her a job as well as a home for these children,” Johnson said.

She’s been selling bags, hoping to one day go back Ethiopia.

“The ultimate goal for me would be being able to also help with the building of the home, so I’d love to, when I have the right money to, to go and build the home,” she said.

Steps she’s been taking since two years ago.

If you’re interested in supporting her cause, click here.

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