Janet lives in a small hut in rural Uganda, forty minutes down the road from Kampala. When she was younger, she had 10 children. “God took 8,” she tells me. When she was a child, her grandmother taught her how to take banana leaves and dry them; separate them into long strong strips; weave them into shapes that hold fast. She had forgotten all about weaving baskets until she was left with 11 grandchildren to take care of. Spending the mornings and afternoons farming wouldn’t be enough. She would have to spend her evenings making baskets; teaching her own grandchildren how to dry, separate, and weave.
When I visit Janet, she is sitting inside a dimly lit hut. Her knees are wrapped in cloth, swollen, I can tell. She is glad to see Patrick, and he makes her laugh. She is desperately poor, probably hungry, has two broken knees (from a fall I learn about), has 11 grandchildren to care for and yet she laughs. Patrick has this effect on people-the indescribable ability to make people laugh who have no business laughing. But Janet too, she has the ability to laugh when I cannot find any reason.
We have 5 of her baskets that we are selling on her behalf. I paid for them on the spot, and so she has the money already. She has probably paid for tuition payments for her two grandkids that are behind on their school fees. Or on food for 12. Or for a clinic bill for her knees. Buying one of those baskets will recoup our money. But mainly, buying one of those baskets, or supporting Beautiful Response in general, really does two things. First, it sends Patrick into more dimly lit huts to make tired grandmothers laugh and rediscover their sharp senses of humor. Second, it makes you a part of a bigger story. Those baskets, made by Janet and her grandkids, carry their story.
If you’d like to order one of those 5 baskets, check out our Etsy page and make it happen. If you’d just like to support Patrick and send him into more dimly lit huts…you can be a part of that story here. Thanks.