Friday, May 22, 2009

They're Here!

Finally, the shipment we've been waiting for, ever since we left the ladies of the Bitengye Designers in Uganda, has arrived. With great excitement, Trudy, Joan and I unpacked totes and excitedly examined over all the finished items that these hard-working women had sent. There were exclamations of awe over the progress made by some, a few groans over a few that haven't quite understood the concept of "straight" yet, and amazement, once again, at the intrepid Alice, and the 64 bags she has sent us, in order that we can raise funds for her sewing school. So all of these items are now for sale.

Cushion-covers, such as the one held up by Joan, are $15 each. Wallhangings, such as the two I'm holding in the next photo, are $20 each. A set of four placemats, is $20. And Alice's bags, modelled by my daughter Jessie, are $15 each. All the proceeds from these sales go directly towards the Kitambaa Sewing and Quilting Project. These are not perfectly crafted items, but are some of the first items made by women who previously had no sewing, ironing, measuring, let alone quilting experience, before. What is so encouraging to us is the quantity of items the ladies have produced, and how many of the items are of "good

quality". Since we left, the women have had to learn how to use locally sold blankets instead of the flannelette we took to them in February, for batting. They have purchased new fabric and thread supplies from "Alice's store", using their own earnings. They have continued to work in the fields with their fellow widows and other grandmothers each day,while still carving out time for their sewing. Most impressive of all, they have produced all of these items in a tiny home, without electricity or running water. They have continued to fetch water, firewood for their stoves, looked after their children, and completed all the tasks that were already part of their lives before learning to sew. This astounds me. And I would be willing to bet that they have still found time for singing and laughter, for drumming and dance, each and every day.
So . . . if you would like to add your support to the Bitengye Designers, please contact me via email , and let me know what you would like to purchase. We will send it off to you just as soon as possible. Tomorrow, Joan and I are off to Quilt Saskatchewan, and we will be taking many of these items with us there. Trudy will be manning the booth in Parksville, who have their show at the end of the month.
And she will have a good supply of these items with her there. But if you are farther flung, please email us or phone us (250-339-3815). We will fill orders in the order that they are received. This is a concrete way for you too, to help these women. And a big thank you, thank you, to those who are already part of this huge group of women, reaching out to their sisters in Uganda.

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