Sunday, November 17, 2013

Meeting with the Widows' Groups in Kabiunda

The widows group in Kabiunda - a small village in the south of Uganda - numbers 118 members, while the HIV positive group in the same village numbers 55. Yesterday we met with both groups, to hear about the productivity of the plots of land that have been rented for them, and the micro-finance program, through which they hope to raise enough income to rent the plots in subsequent years.

They have had support for three years, but this will be coming to an end soon, and the discussion with the leaders of both groups centred around how to make up the difference. The truth is that despite the politically correct and sometimes glorified use of the word "sustainable", there are some parts of the world so poor that even with the best efforts of both Ugandan and Canadian people, this is only partially attainable.
Some of these widows are too old or too sick to work, and despite community gardens, can at best only hope to raise enough food to feed their families. And the land itself is in very short supply, and crops are not always rotated, so the soil becomes depleted and yields are down. Add to that climate change that is affecting their two growing seasons per year, and the problems sometimes seem unsurmountable. The solemn faces you see reflect the frustration and despair some of these women feel.
The photo above is of Robin Zayanga. She dropped into this meeting and waited until the very end to whisper in the leaders' ears that the water falls on her head all night, and she wonders if these muzungus (white people) can do anything to help her. She lives in less than a shack, I am told. A new house will cost $1500 to build for her - a simple mud and wattle house with a tin roof that will keep her dry. Sometimes, I find, one person's story reaches me in a strong and heart-renching way, and this is one of those times. I am committed to raising the funds to build Robin her new house. Not sure how I'll do it, yet. But will keep you posted. Perhaps it's time for another "Opportunities to Own" quilt raffle. . . . .


  1. Pippa - you do so much for the African women - I would like to support you in your effort to build Robin a new house! (And I'm sure I can enlist some Heritage Quilters!)

  2. Thanks so much, Delores. Let's keep in touch. I'm thinking of selling "opportunities" on one of my Africa-inspired quilts. Perhaps you'd be willing to do this at the Heritage Quilters Guild for Robin?

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Pippa, I love following along and hearing about both the good and the bad.