Saturday, November 9, 2013

More News from Uganda

The workshop continued all this week, with the women arriving sometime after 8:00 each morning, and staying until close to 7:00 each evening. They were all determined to get as much work done as possible, taking on the making of new designs with enthusiasm, consulting Alice as needed, and for the most part, willing to make corrections as suggested. They now have cloth labels to sew on each item - "Bitengye Designs, Handmade in Uganda" - but sometimes they get sewn on upside down. But it does make everything look a little classier. One day I showed them on the computer the photos I show people in Canada, when I tell them about the work the women are doing. There were lots of laughs over some of the early images, especially the worried expressions as they were first learning how to use the rulers and scissors and irons. And then we took a new group photo of the Bitengye Designers, including Joan and myself. We have come a long way since this project started in 2009, and there is still some distance to go. As many of you know, I waited two years to come back to work with the women again, thinking that they were strong enough to manage without me. But now I realize I was mistakened. The problems we've uncovered on this trip have made me realize again, that in Africa, everything goes "slowly, slowly". Short term commitment to a group is rarely as effective as long term commitment. Which, of course, has big implications for future plans. But more on this later. Right now I need to pack up all the completed "fashions", ready to ship them off to Canada on Monday.

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