Women’s Group

I’m writing this entry on Thursday night, after a completely fabulous day spent at the maternity centre and with the women’s group. Vanessa has been hard at work translating and printing the information for the educational posters that will be going in the birth house. Since formatting is her least favourite part of the entire process, and my type-A self loves doing that kind of stuff, I was helping her cut out everything and arrange pictures and text on the bristol boards.  We’ll head down to site early tomorrow morning to hopefully finish everything up, and then we’ll be catching a matatu with Ali and Dai later in the day and heading to Entebbe, via Kampala (travelling pretty much anywhere in Uganda generally involves going through the capital). Kristen was supposed to have gotten in today sometime, but we just heard from her that it’s been a miserable series of delayed and rerouted flights back, and that she’s now scheduled to arrive at 3:30am on Friday.  Luckily, the backpackers’ hostel where we’ll be staying offers shuttle service from the airport at any hour, so at least she’ll be able to head right to a bed and catch up on sleep before we meet up with her tomorrow night.

This afternoon was also the weekly meeting of the women’s group, who are the ones that make all of the jewelry and bags that Shanti sells in Canada. In addition to the women coming to site to pick up their vitamins for the week, we usually try to have some type of workshop or activity planned each week.  Today, I was showing them a slideshow that I’d put together about Canada. Vanessa and I have both had conversations with people during our time here where we found ourselves running into difficulty trying to explain things like skiing or what a moose is. In this case a picture really is worth a thousand words, so I spent some time Google Imaging photos of different parts of the country, our flag, Canadian animals, winter sports, and also included some pictures of the jewelry and bags that the women make being sold at events in Canada. Yvone, one of the leaders of the women’s group, translated for me as we went along, and everyone seemed to really enjoy learning a little more about the country. Even I picked up a few new pieces of information while putting everything together. Did you know that despite having about the same number of people, Uganda could fit into Canada 42 times, land mass-wise?

After we’d gone through the slideshow, the women gave Ali and Vanessa necklaces as parting gifts, since both of them are finishing their placements this week. I’m looking forward to hearing all about their travels, and finding out more about the different places they go and things they see. I’ll be planning some of my weekends off around their recommendations, I’m sure. First up, however, is the trip to Entebbe tomorrow. I’ll post another note in a few days to let you know how everything goes.

And for those of you who had been asking where you can purchase Shanti merchandise, there’s now a listing of upcoming fairs and parties that Shanti will be attending on their website. If you’re not in the Greater Vancouver Area, you can still order the jewelry and bags online.