Bwindi Women’s Center

Today we visited the women’s center in Bwindi. The open-air building lies in town near the hospital, under the shadowed peaks of Bwindi’s Impenetrable Forest. The women’s center in Bwindi was created for women whose husbands died of AIDS. There, they can find support amongst each other, as well as work for up to 500 shillings an hour making the sewing, weaving and knitting projects that the center sells.

When we arrived, the women were all hard at work. Some women cut, some sewed and some ironed. There appeared to be a system. However the women were happy to make openings for the ITW enrichment group. They taught some students how to sew, their final product being some bags that actually left me very impressed. Others, less successfully, tried to learn their knitting machine. As for myself, I tried my hand at weaving- a feat that is harder than it may seem. It takes both patience and precision to fold rows of grass over each other over and over again. Having to add in the black design may have been the last straw on both my brain and back.

So, unfortunately, I left the Bwindi Women’s Center without a finished product. I wouldn't even say I had a new skill-my work was far from skillful. What I did bring home from the Bwindi Women’s Center is an amazing experience. While there, I witnessed both the strength of those women and their ability to find strength amongst each other after tragedy strikes, two virtues that I aspire too.

- Benjamin Hyams ITW Enrichment Student