Meet the Women of Bunyoro

These photos are from a meeting on December 29th between The Chimpanzee Trust and the Kyamaleera (K-eye-ah-mah-lay-la) Women's Craft Association in the Hoima district in the Western region of Uganda. These women belong to the Bunyoro tribe.  One of the amazing things about Uganda is there are more than 50 languages across this single country! I had spent six months before my trip studying Lugandan, one of the primary languages but these women do not speak Lugandan or English, they speak Nyoro, so we had a translator. Noah, our translator, is a field assistant with The Chimpanzee Trust and speaks a minimum of four languages! And by the way, I don't really speak Lugandan either! I mostly was able to make people laugh at my terrible pronunciation which was a great ice breaker. :)

These women started their craft association in 2007 with more than 20 women but their numbers have dwindled in recent years as they have become discouraged by a lack of a market to sell their goods. That's where we come in! This meeting, facilitated by the Trust, on behalf of Lucy & Jo, was to move forward the projects started during our first meeting and visit in November. Based on the designs and skills they already have - sewing, embroidery, weaving, knitting and paper beads - we are creating new designs for women in the U.S. We are sending packages with samples and design ideas that they will work on in preparation for our next trip in May. If you have any suggestions for things you'd like to see, we'd love to hear from you!  

The first picture is from the meeting on December 29th and the next few are samples of their embroidery work. This work is done entirely by hand and in their spare time when they aren't cooking, fetching water, watching their children, tending to their crops, doing laundry (also by hand) or any of the many other tasks required in their daily lives...I love the detail, vibrant colors and raw edges of the fabric. Modern day African folk art at its finest. 

 Reading an email I sent is Moses, a Community Coordinator for The Chimpanzee Trust. The email was letting the women know about the samples and next steps. As you can see from the sign, the meeting took place at the Kyamaleera Wildlife Education Centre. 

Reading an email I sent is Moses, a Community Coordinator for The Chimpanzee Trust. The email was letting the women know about the samples and next steps. As you can see from the sign, the meeting took place at the Kyamaleera Wildlife Education Centre. 

 Artist: Emma Kiroaruoaho. All work is first hand drawn on the fabric. Most pieces depict landscapes or 'snapshots' of traditional Ugandan activities. 

Artist: Emma Kiroaruoaho. All work is first hand drawn on the fabric. Most pieces depict landscapes or 'snapshots' of traditional Ugandan activities. 

 Artist: Sunday Evelyn

Artist: Sunday Evelyn