Friday, January 7, 2011

Fabric Shopping

A return trip to Mbarara yesterday to buy more fabric proved very entertaining. A "special hire" taxi driven by Francis turned into a language lesson. I had no sooner closed the door than Francis began firing words at me in Runyankole. I would repeat the word to the best of my ability. He would repeat it. I would repeat it. He would give me the English, and then we were on to the next word. He was going so quickly that I started laughing, and then I protested, but I think Francis must see this as his mission to "buzungus", because he never let up. In desperation I asked Joan to pass me some paper and a pencil, and I started writing as fast as I

could. We were nearly in hysterics by the time we got to town. I don't know how many of these words I will actually remember, but the experience itself will stay with me for some time. Kobisingye, the woman who owns the fabric shop we frequent here, was reluctant to do business with me the first time I met her four years ago, but now she is the source of fabric for all the Bitengye women, and she gives us a warm welcome. Sadly the Zaire fabric we used to get from her is no longer available, nor is the Tanzanian batik fabric. But there were lots of wonderful veritable wax fabrics, and some new fabrics from Khartoum that we have never seen before. Now we have a good selection of fabrics for the Bitengye ladies to work with, as well as a good selection to bring home with us.


  1. I love the photo of Kobisingye in her shop. I'm surprised to see all of those soft pinks and lilacs behind her on the shelves - very different from what I would expect. Sounds like your visit is going very well - enjoy Pippa!

  2. I agree with Krista, Surprising to see all the soft prints, but absolutely love the stack she is holding. Love the documentation of your trip.

  3. hi there some one please get me a phone number to call her. i would like to buy some fabrics from her. please