Walking into this rural mountain village, high in the Rwenzori Mountains, we were immediately overwhelmed with colors, textures, and vibrant personalities. We found these radiant women weaving on their traditional mats, with a lush jungle backdrop framing them as they went about their daily work. They were all smiles and open arms – giddy with excitement – ready to show us the baskets they had been working on for months.
We talked to them about every step of this age-old weaving process – from gathering the palm and banana leaves, to hand-dying the colors, to weaving every coil. They tie a needle to the end of the palm leaves, and begin what looks like a sewing process – only using dried plants instead of thread. They loved showing us these steps and laughing with us as they showed us their craft.
They also laughed because they thought our names sounded funny, they laughed a little more when they saw our (lack of) basket-on-head-balancing skills, and they probably laughed the hardest when they saw our questionable rhythm in our dance moves. Yes, dance moves. That happened. As we walked away, we were reminded of life’s simple pleasures. We were so grateful for that time in such a beautiful setting watching these women weave magic, starting with nothing but a needle and a pile of leaves.