Travel Log Uganda, Day 10: A Day of Craft
outdoor table

Travel Log Uganda, Day 10: A Day of Craft

We were very tired yesterday, yet somehow, we got quite a lot done today:

We first went to a market to choose fabric for some custom dresses. I and another member of our group are getting this done, in an orange fabric with leaf patterns. There were quite a lot of fabrics to choose from, especially for a small hole-in-the-wall shop in an alley. I was impressed. On our way back to the car, we passed a roadside shoemaker. Olive (one of the ministry leaders) had her shoes fixed within 5min. There’s a lot of craftsmen and custom-made work. You can’t just go buy standard stuff, but you can have common things made specifically to your liking.

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This picture is from yesterday, but even milk is a craft, here: There are grocery stores, but small dairy shops are more common.

After the shopping tour we went to the soap workshop and worked in different teams: My mom worked with the women to make a large batch of soap. They needed to use beeswax for the recipe, but the wax was unrefined. It had lots of dirt and even some live bee larvae in it. But they found a way to refine it by melting and straining it through a cloth. As they were doing that, the place smelled like honey, and bees came flying through the windows. This was real beeswax!
Meanwhile, I worked with some others on the pallet furniture. We finally finished the storage shelf, built a table, and began building a small counter top for the “kitchen” area. The most time-consuming part was by far the nails: There’s lots of those, and it can be a pain to pull them out. But we did it, and my students are becoming more independent at working. Later, one person in our group said that she had never tried working with pallets because the projects she saw were so refined and intimidating. I told her that you need a lot of advanced tools to imitate Pinterest, but that you can still do a surprising amount of stuff with basic tools. We are proving that theory to be true as we work. So anyone out there who might be intimidated by “Pinterest”-standards: Just get your hands dirty and try it! It won’t be perfect, but you will learn something, and probably be capable of more than you thought.

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