During our time in Rwanda, we spent the most significant amount of time with the Kamonyi Cooperative, the women who craft our Sisal Peace Baskets. You will be seeing a video starring these ladies coming soon, but for now we wanted to give you a little more info about the work that they do, and the time that we spent together.
While the Kamonyi District is about 27 miles outside of Kigali, the drive to the Basket Lovers takes over 2 hours. It is a bumpy ride for the latter half, but the deep red dirt roads and stunning hillside views make it all worth it.
We joined the women in their workshop to review potential new designs for fall. We sketched some artwork and reviewed what would be possible or not. There is such an art to the weaving that these women execute, and it takes significant time, discussion, and a few samples to figure out which designs we can and can not successfully produce. But what stuck with us, is that this group LOVES a challenge. They don’t want to work on the same, old easy designs. They want to collaborate and achieve new ideas that once were not thought possible. We loved interacting in discussions about size, color and pattern, and seeing how excited the group got when they learned we would be doing new things.
As we wrapped up to head home, the women came outside and walked us to our car (a very common Rwandan tradition). Esther, the cooperative leader, pointed across the street to a small concrete hut and she said “You see that there? It is our bank. Because of our work with together, we were able to save money, and start a group account there.” Cue all of the emotions, and affirmation on why we are doing the work that we do. Can’t wait to share more designs with this group, coming soon this fall!