Friday, April 9, 2010

Other Ugandan Friends

In the last few days, I've had time to look over some of the photos taken by Joan and by Trudy, and wanted to share some of these with you. The first photo is of Resty, who has a shop in one of the craft markets in Kampala, and who sells some of the best quality batiks available. She also works with the National Arts Organization, and has accepted articles made by the Bitengye Designers for sale in her shop. The next photo is of Nightingale, who was our translator this year. She was wonderful to work with, always anticipating where she might be needed
and keenly interested in the Bitengye women. In
fact she has offered her home in Mbarara to anyone who has need to come to town, whether for health reasons or for new fabric, as her children are now all grown up, and she has extra space. Next are the leaders of the Mutual Benefit Society in Kikagati, including Recheal and Lydia. Elly was our guide and a wonderful resource while we were visiting in that area. He is an amazing man, who made a radio station from parts of a calculator and other parts. He worked for ACTS for some years, but now he has been discovered by the UN and is one of their IT people. But he made it a condition of his

employment with them that he be able to take regular time off to work with the widows and grandmothers group in his home of Kikagati. Lastly are the group of elderly widows in Kikagati. They are too old to work in the fields any more, so the younger widows support the older ones, sharing what little food they have with them. As you can probably tell, all of these courageous folk are often in our thoughts. When we said goodbye to the Bitengye members they said to us "Please don't forget us." And we won't.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Little of This, A Little of That

Monday evening, and our children have all left for their respective homes after spending a delightful weekend with us. There's nothing quite like looking on as five of our six adult children (and significant others) chat and laugh and exchange stories around the candle lit dining room table. And of course we had our stories too.

Of our time in the land of eucalyptus trees . . . .

Of the Bitengye Designers and how their lives have changed since they learned how to sew (this is Kamidah, pictured in front of her new plot of land).
Of the warm welcome and hospitality we were shown when we visited the Bitengye Designers in their homes (this is Lydia at her treadle machine in Kikagati).

Of the close encounters we had with new friends and the occasional elephant . . . .

And of the hard work being done by Alice and all the other members of the Bitengye Designers.

We've been home for a month today, and it has taken us this long to make that adjustment from our lives with the Ugandan women and our lives here in Canada. They are never very far from our thoughts. This coming week I will have the opportunity to speak about them in Winnipeg, and two weeks later we will be at Quilt Canada in Calgary, and I hope meeting up with many of you who have been following our adventures and supportive from your homes across the country. We have brought home some terrific fabrics, and batiks and beads. I hope you'll stop by wherever we are, and have a word with us.