November, 2009 – It has only been three years since the women of Kishanje began weaving again. The grandmas had lived through nearly 40 years of famine and rebellion and disease. They had watched their children die of AIDS. And, at an agBasketmaker-cr-sme when they should be the ones being cared for, they found themselves returned to active duty taking care of their grandchildren. If they were in the US, they would have been diagnosed as clinically depressed. Their focus was on survival. But when Juna Amagara began taking kids into an after-school program and then brought construction work for the Learning Center, and then started a secondary school, things brightened up considerably.
Spirits lifted and the women began weaving again. The first efforts were poor attempts – no way they would allow these things to be sold. But today, the baskets are tightly woven with colors and designs unique to Kishanje. One woman’s circle has turned into 10 where caregivers sit and weave together, talking about their children, telling jokes, at least once a week. Now the crafts are worth selling. If you come to Uganda, you will see. The transformation in the weaving matches the transformation in the community. And it is a thing of beauty.