On sewing day the Ubuntu Community Care Centre is just a-humming. I actually intend that description as a double entendre – one of the many things I love about the African people is the way they uninhibitedly sing (or hum) wherever they feel like it. The worker stocking grocery shelves will break into song, or the server in a restaurant when she’s not busy waiting tables, or the gardener pulling weeds and pruning bushes (no, they’re not plugged into ipods).
So about 35 gogos were very pre-occupied with their current sewing project, chatting, singing, comparing their products, as a few of their grandchildren played about. They are working on English paper piecing, taught to them by Cherryl Taylor, an American who has been living in Sabie for the past three years. Joy Burton, who assists Ginny frequently, helps to cut out the hexagonal pieces, and the gogos hand stitch them over paper before piecing them carefully together in starburst patterns. They will be giving a number of them to me to carry back for the Grannies à Gogo handicraft group to use in their creations, which in turn will raise funds to be sent back to Sitabogogo. A wonderful full-circle effect.
Since I was last here 9 months ago, I can see that they’ve settled into their sewing routines. They assist each other by cutting fabric for those with trembling arthritic hands, or threading needles for those with poor eyesight. It’s also good to see many of them now wearing reading glasses as a result of our collecting blitz last spring which rounded up about 45 pairs of glasses. Sewing is clearly a very popular activity, and they are stretching their creativity, using the starburst patchwork product to appliqué on to cushion covers, table runners, and wall hangings. I suspect some of their handiwork will show up at our annual Pot Luck & Auction in February.