Sunday, January 30, 2011

Justina, Knight and Sheilla

As in the first two years, several of the Bitengye women needed medical attention while they were attending the workshop. Justina was first to come to our attention. This 47 year old mother of six children, had spent all her earnings last year on food for her family, the needs of the 6 families of relatives who live nearby to her and come to her regularly for assistance, and had neglected her own health. When she saw the doctor at the clinic, he prescribed an amazing 6 different medications for her rampant infection. She was feeling a lot better by the end of the workshop, and hopes she will have enough earnings this year to continue
work on a new house for herself. "One by one makes a bundle", she told me. Knight and Dorothy both needed glasses prescribed this year. And Knight needed ongoing treatment for her congestive heart failure, first diagnosed when we were here last year. As for Sheilla, at 24 she is still the youngest
member of the group, and in much better health than last year. She has realized the importance of taking her HIV medication every day, and feels better for it - an important thing as the mother of two small children. Every day she came early to the workshop, to sweep up the floor from the previous days' scraps and to light the charcoal fire for the irons, and if there was time, to get a head start on her sewing for that day. What I find staggering, is how women have to put up with ill health - they simply suffer and continue working, through ailments that are really grim. I wonder if providing ongoing medical care should be a part of the Kitambaa Sewing Project, to make sure that each of these women gets the care they need in a timely way, year round . . . I think so.


  1. Most definitely. Healthy women are happy sewists!

  2. Awe that just makes me cry! Yes - Health #1.