When I left Uganda a year ago, having brought the Kitambaa Sewing Project to a close, I wanted to find a way to stay in touch with the women we had been working with for almost 10 years. I approached Perez Bemereire, who had been involved in the project from the very beginning - selecting the women who would learn to sew, helping to translate during our workshops, and sorting out problems any of the women were having as they arose. Perez had known most of the women before the workshop began, through his involvement with the widows' support groups and as an HIV/AIDS counsellor. He understood their situations, and graciously pointed out when I was missing something, and gently encouraged them as they learned to sew. One memorable moment was when he was counselling them before they returned to their villages, after the first workshop. "Don't be proud when you go back to the village," he said. "Go out and work with the other women in the mornings, and leave your sewing until after lunch. That way you will prevent envy in the women who did not have a chance to learn to sew." His wisdom did much to help avoid possible conflict.
So Perez was the person I went to, asking if he would make regular visits to the Bitengye women in Rubingo, and sending reports on how they were faring. He has done this faithfully for the last year, and when the most recent email and report arrived, I thought I'd like to share it with you.
Perez meeting with us and the Bitengye Designers in Rubingo
Dear Pippa Moore,
I greet you in the name of the Living God and hope that Mr. David Moore reached well. Allow me and I bring warm greetings from my family members and Bitengye ladies at large.
I apologize for visiting Rubingo ladies without asking you the question to ask. The visit was intended to know the progress after their graduation. The meeting took place on the October-29th-2016. The meeting was well represented only Lydia did not show up due to poor network.
1- In the meeting Annah told me that after her training she went to the near lest school and was told to check next year. She also told me that she does some few things which she sales locally.
2- Justine her plan is to get good sponge good Napkins because she found it useful to put a sponge that can discharge the blood, the few that she makes are sold locally.
3- Kamidah deals with bags and she sales them locally and for School uniforms she is planning to visit the schools this month.
4- Night and Kamidah since there from the same area Night is suggested to visit the schools together in order to help the head teachers to choose from the two, and as they visit the schools they will also advertize for the pads too. Night also makes bags that she sale locally.
5- Alice’s plan is to keep co-coordinating the group as usual and as well marketing for their products. She told the meeting that she was busy in these months looking after 2 groups and she is now somehow a bit relieved she will visit some places in different towns where they sale their products and market for them and as well to schools for uniforms and napkins.
In meeting them this gives the hope and encouragement in which ever they are doing and I hope that there helped in doing so.
Greet all the Bitengye supports and those that know my name.
Lastly, I have an extremely sad bit of news to pass on to you. Our friend Tumushabe, who came from Lake Bunyoni, has been murdered. At this time, no one has been charged. Someone saw her as a source of money, and this cost Tumushabe her life. We don't have any other details of what exactly happened. Tumushabe was always a bright spark and a good worker at our workshops, someone with a sense of fun. We will miss her.