Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sheilla and Maudah

Sheilla is 22 years old, and from Rubingo. She has a 2 year old daughter, Viola. Sheilla is HIV positive and is also caregiver to her mother, a widow, who is also HIV positive. Viola is negative. Sheilla had already taken classes in tailoring, but was looking for some way to sew from home, and joined our group when one of the ladies from Kikigati was unable to come. She likes to sew fast, but has also become skilled in also sewing carefully, during her time in class. Here she is holding up one of the cushion-cover designs the women have been working on.

And here is Maudah with another style of cushion cover. Maudah is from Lake Bunyoni. She is 41 years old and has four children, aged 12 to 20. Her fifth pregnancy was a difficult one, and the baby was stillborn. The delay in getting her to hospital resulted in some permanent injury, and chronic pelvic pain. No longer able to cultivate the family garden, she began to sew as alternate means to earn an income. Her quilted items are carefully sewn, and she is an extremely hard worker. She and Tumushabe will sew together when they return to the lake, and hope to earn revenue for school fees from the high quality items they make.
To date, about half the women involved in our project have required medical care. When they are back in their villages, this is not possible, and in all likelihood, they would put up with any dicomfort or illness, or resort to traditional medicine. But while they are here, they know they will be attended to at the nearby Ruharo Clinic. They have been treated for malaria, pelvic inflammatory disease, urinary tract infections, HIV-related infections and still-to-be-diagnosed conditions. This is something we did not anticipate, but is all part of working in this part of the world - a "workshop expense" one would never see in Canada.

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