Saturday, October 31, 2015

What an Amazing Week!

Here Trudy and I are with the Bitengye Designers (minus Tumushabe, who was unable to join us due to illness, and Recheal, who is now giving herself entirely to her new Clinic), outside Canada House at the end of what has been an incredible week. We came here feeling apprehensive, knowing that we were going to have to tell them that this was our last workshop and last visit, but ended our time hopeful that this amazing group of women is going to go forward into the future using their skills and their sewing machines to provide for their families. We spent time talking about the importance of good quality, and about how small businesses work, and about different possibilities that exist for them here in Uganda. We've linked them with an organization that has an annual Trade Fair and another that links rural craft co-ops with tourist camps. We've put forward the idea of them making school uniforms and book bags and sanitary napkins for local schools, and how these might be marketed. And we've left them with enough funds to open co-op bank accounts in the three areas in which they live. But it's their determination and courage which gives us the biggest hope for their success. They are committed to one another, and Alice is committed to carrying on as their Coordinator. And so what could have been a very sad occasion has actually been incredibly encouraging. We have missed having Joan with us, who couldn't travel this year for health reasons, but know she's with us in sprit. And all of us look forward to hearing how the women fare in the months and years to come now that we've set up a new means of communication. Thank you, thank you to all of you who have supported us over the years. I will try to bring you up to date on individual stories over the next couple of weeks we're in the country, and to post photos of the Sewing School and the Kikagate Clinic when we visit them next week. The Bitengye Designers asked us to send a big thank you for them too. You have been part of "lifting them up" (as they would put it), and they will remember your kindness to them always.   

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