One of the activities we did while in Uganda was to take lessons in basket weaving. Although it felt like the cliché of a “simple” and mindless class that people would take if they can’t handle the stress of any other class, it taught us several life lessons. This is the fourth post in my series about my trip to Uganda and is about basket weaving.
First of all, never underestimate the complex skill in something seemingly simple. I gained a large respect for people who weave baskets. Although it wasn’t a hard concept to do, it took great patience, and in a whole hour, we were only able to make 1 circle around a start of a basket only about the size of a quarter. If we completed a typical sized basket at the speed it was taking us rookies to start the basket, I estimate it would’ve taken us at least 40 if not 80 hours to complete, assuming we could stand to stay at the task that long. These baskets sell at about $20 – $25, giving an income of $20 for a weeks worth of work. Even if the skilled basket weavers can complete a basket in 1 day, that’s still only $20 for a day’s labor, and you can’t do more than 1 at a time, unlike watching 5 children in a day for $20 each.
Not only that, in Uganda where these baskets are made, HIV runs rampant, and a needle prick can be deadly, so these women are potentially risking their lives to make these baskets.
One of the biggest thrills of this day, though, was after the activity was over and we had left the location. We were told more about the two women who were helping us weave the baskets. Both of these women were extremely close to death within the last few years due to aids or malaria. They would have died if it had not been for Just Like My Child providing them with the medication and nutrition they needed, and their children would have been orphaned. When they worked with us, they were vibrant and healthy. This was the most meaningful moment of our basket weaving experience – the fact that these two women were even there to instruct us, when they would have both not survived had it not been for Just Like My Child.
Before we left the women, I purchased one of the baskets that they had made in advance and brought along in case we wanted to buy one. The women got such a big smile when I said I would buy her basket. I’ll think of this whole experience, every time I see the basket in my house, and appreciate the skill it took to make it, the woman who made it, and Just Like My Child who kept this woman alive to make it.
Check out another post from this Just Like My Child trip to Uganda called, Setting The GroundWork For Sustainability In Uganda. I invite you to share this post with the sharing options below, and also to leave comments below. I’ll give you a backlink to your blog as a thank you.