Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Justine and her son, Aron

Justine is the last member of the Bitenge Designers group for you to meet. By the way, Bitenge Designsers is the name the group has given to itself - bitenge is the plural of kitenge, and refers to the cloth that is being combined in making placemats, cushion-covers and wallhangings. Justine is 40, has been a widow since 2001, and has 6 children, aged 8 to 18. Aron is her eldest son, and is receiving training to become a mechanic in Mbarara. He was short on fees for this term, and Kitambaa was able to help with the short-fall, meaning that he is now able to continue with this education. Justine is from Rubingo, where she is involved in basket weaving and the community garden. She is a lovely, gentle person, and is so happy to be sewing. She has taken to it like a duck to water, and her products are getting better and better all the time.
We now only have two days left before the women leave for their villages on Saturday morning. Three weeks has gone by incredibly fast, and each day (barring Sunday) has been full. Now it's time to tie up the loose ends, to ensure that the women know what to do with the money they have already earned - what will go to more fabric, what will go in the bank in savings, and what will be kept by them for their own households. Eight of the twelve have neither a stool or chair to sit in at the sewing machine, nor a table on which to cut and iron. So some funds will have to go towards these purchases initially. None had previously had an iron - we've now purchased one for each woman. They tell us they will fill it with coal from the cooking fire. These and other specifics will have to be worked out today and tomorrow. Meanwhile, Joan and I are filling our totes ready to bring their products back to Canada with us. Two are already full. Thank you to all those who have already indicated that you'd like to make purchases from us! We will post the specific items on our website as soon as we're home again.


  1. I am in awe of both of you and all of the women -what a gift you are giving them. Blessings on all of you as you come to the end of your current project and return to your respective homes. Mary de Z

  2. It has been a wonderful experience to meet these determined women through your blog. They all seem to have such beautiful warm smiles and their determination in life is shown in these pictures. Congratulations to them on their successes achieved through your dedicated work.

    Pat P. - Fredericton, NB