In the beautiful and lush region around Fort Portal in Uganda over a 1000 women craft change by producing handmade high-quality baskets that are exported to England every three months.
Initiated and developed by Anne, the ladies develop their own natural colours, dye the raw material made of raffia, banana fiber and papyrus into a rainbow of colours, and handcraft the baskets. The products therefore come in stunning combinations and patterns.
They are all mothers, farmers, wives, and change crafting women. So they not only raise a family but also cultivate a plot of land, are responsible for the household, and pretty much the sustenance of the whole family.
Producing baskets in addition to all these responsibilities needs organisation. We were told that each of them dedicates two hours in the afternoon of every working day to crafting baskets.
The money they earn with their craft changes a lot, because these mothers spend it on their children. They send them to school as they now are able to pay for school fees. What’s more, the women now also have a say in the family and sit down with their husbands to discuss family issues and how the excess money the family may have is being spent.
We are joyous to learn that their husbands are in favour of their wives earning money. Not a problem at all. Quite the opposite actually, as the women are now taken more seriously and some men even jumped on the baskets crafting bandwagon.
But this is not all. When asked how many children they look after, some give us double-digit numbers like 10. That is a lot, so Celestine wonders and asks more precisely.
The answer leaves us speechless, awestruck and lets our heart melt.
They tell us that they also care for several orphans as a matter of course.
You must understand that these women don’t have a lot and don’t earn a fortune compared to western standards, but what they have, they naturally share with others, especially children.
And we in the rich countries battle the arrival of refugees. What a shame. Because not only do we have the money to care for them but also more than enough to share with them.
There is so very much we can and should learn from humans and women like these.
Webale muno from the bottom of my heart dearest ladies.
Thank you for having us and teaching us some lessons!