Trip to Basket Island

DSC01972A few days before we left Rwanda we took a small boat across one of the hundreds of inlets¹ along the Rwandan side of Lake Kivu over to see a project that a local church had started.  It is a small group of women – most of whom are widows, or un/under-employed.

DSC01950The women sit together in the church, woven mats on the concrete floor, surrounded by small piles of grass – churning out long braided cords which then get turned into baskets. The baskets get sold, and the women are able to earn some modest income for themselves and their families.
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They were incredibly patient with all of us and our kids, showing them how to complete the weave – which is apparently much more complicated than it looks.  From a glance it appears that they are basically braiding the grass – but it was much more of an intricate pattern which involves adding a new strand once every time the pattern is completed. DSC02003 DSC02015

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DSC02071 Once we had finished our time ‘helping’ them weave – they set out a snack for us, and then without us really realizing it, helped carry the smaller kids back down the hill.  It has been constantly amazing – and humbling – to see so many times the ways which people who look like they have so little – extending generosity and hospitality.  DSC02105 DSC02126

We took our boat back across the lake – watching fishermen in boats, animals drinking, and the occasional person fetching water.DSC02149


¹ The fact that we actually travelled to a peninsula – and not an island is immaterial to the core of this story.  But “Basket Peninsula” just doesn’t’ have a nice ring to it.