Recheal. As many of you will recall, Recheal is a member of the Bitengye Designers. She is a delightful young woman, a widow and mother of 5 children. She's 33 years old, and she's HIV positive. In addition to making some of the "best quality" products for the Bitengye Designers, she is the founder and leader of the Kikagati HIV positive group, organizing drama and singing events to neighbouring communities, and over-seeing the Kitambaa-sponsored food program for HIV clients who are too ill to work. She is someone whose positive outlook on life - fuelled by a profound faith and a dignity and sense of thankfulness that has often put me to shame - is a natural leader in her community. At the beginning of April, Recheal began a nursing program at the Kabuyanda Medical and Health Training Centre. Her dream is to be able to provide medication and nursing care in her community - presently not available. The crime up until now is that ARV's (anti-retro-virals) are provided by the government of Uganda, but without money for transportation, the people of Kikagati have no access to the drugs.
So when I was contacted to ask if Kitambaa Designs would consider sponsoring Recheal for her nurses' training, I didn't hesitate to say "yes". The fees for the 18 month program, including her course, her accommodation and meals, and her books, come to 4,765,000 shillings. This translates to just under $2,000. I can't think of a more worthwhile cause to contribute to. Already Kitambaa has received a donation for $400 from one individual. But if there's anyone else out there who would also like to help with this, please let me know. (Sending
me an email would be best - firstname.lastname@example.org). There have been so many of you who have been so generous to the Kitambaa Sewing Project and the Bitengye Designers already. But I felt this particular request might strike a chord with one or two of you. So here are a few photos of Rechael - at home sewing, modelling her newly-made tablecloth, taking part in a traditional dance at the celebration at the end of one of our workshops, and with her family (the little girl in the hat is Recheal's youngest). These give you at least a little glimpse into Recheal and her life in Kikagati. Knowing her in person has been a joy for me, and I look forward to visiting her at the nursing school when we go to Uganda this fall, and to hearing from her all that she's learning. I will be sure to post more photos then.
I am a textile artist and quiltmaker, a teacher and a writer. I have been playing with fabric for over 30 years, the last 15 of which have been spent creating original work and teaching design-based classes. I have a deep connection with the women of Africa, and since 2007 have spent part of each year teaching sewing and quilting to women in Uganda.