What a day we had yesterday! Driving down to Rubingo - 2 hours along pot-holed roads - to see Alice's now-completed new sewing school. And it's amazing. A large, bright, and nicely painted building with office, large classroom, shop, dormitory, and additional sleeping rooms - it is as much and more than she had dreamed about, when she told first showed us the plot of land she had purchased for this purpose on our visit to see her in 2009. We met all but one of her ten students, five of whom are sponsored by friends of Kitambaa. And in the opposite end of the classroom were the six Bitengye Designers that live in Rubingo.
We were served a magnificent feast of posho and matoke, rice and potatoes, goat's meat and chicken, followed by pineapples and watermelon. After that came the tour of the school, and time spent with both students and the Bitengye women. Lots of laughter and great happiness all around. Alice has made many, many Alice bags, which we have sold, and numbers of you have donated to her school too. And now it's a reality, and a very lovely reality too. All of us had great big smiles on our faces, all the way home through the rain and bouncing up and down on the roads, and not even noticing it (although once we did have to get out of the van and push it out of the mud!). So thank you, thank you, to everyone who was a part of making this school, and giving the women of Rubingo a huge dose of hope.
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.