Handmade with love from Africa ~ that’s our slogan at Tugende Design
Switched it up a little to, “Handmade with loads of love from Jinja”.
A little too specific, ya think?
On the 15th of August of 2018, I happened to go on a road-trip with my fam to Jinja
To visit our group of friends there those make us this beautiful life-changing jewelry and others who could join our collective soon enough
From 1 in 1 piece necklaces to 3 in 1 necklace pieces
Did I mention that this was my first time to ever visit Jinja?
On the occasions I’ve stepped in Jinja, is when I’m on road on a bus to Kenya or crossing through to northern Uganda
So quiet, so laid-back and soothing a place
I highly recommend it to you, in case you intend on running away from the noise existing in our world today
You won’t be disappointed, I promise yuh
Anyhows, back to my adventure
It had been a while since I last went on a trip like this
Always reminding me of what I set out to do with my life of changing the world into something that abuses alcohol and other drugs less, day by day
It’s like I was back home, literally, after a long trip
So, we started with the alcohol-producing community in Kakira
And they let us in on how their life is run, on a daily
You ever hear of that saying that goes, “never take life for granted just because you have enough to eat for today and now”?
No? Now, you have.
This is a community that risks their lives, to produce alcohol for a living
By risks, I mean working around highly combustible gases, tools and liquid, without any protective gear on them or life and medical insurance
In other words, when the worst comes to the worst, no one is there to save you….like what Lydia shared with us here…
Lydia: “This job that we do is soo risky. You can’t even imagine! The “ppiipa” do explode on us while we are working and that alone makes us afraid for our lives and those of our children.”
It’s only you and your closest deity you genuflect to
As a matter of fact, she shared with us that before we visited them, a few of their colleagues had gone to bury their friend that had passed on having been smacked by their hot metal barrel in the face and her fore-body
We made them an offer to alleviate that and give them a way out that didn’t involve exploding of metal barrels
Sewing and jewelry-making
Good one, right?
We offered to get them a trainer who could teach them how it’s done so that no other life has to be lost as tragically as it has been
To which they bought the idea
The joy and sense of fulfillment I felt in my heart….it can’t fit on here….jhust can’t!
“BYB”…. Know what that is?
It’s “Build Your Burger”….something we did at “The Deli” in Jinja town
Here’s what I built…. A bun, 2 pieces of chicken, salad, mayonnaise and fries…oohhhh, plus a fresh tower-glass of juice
Charles and Professor call it, “Mzungu lunch”…. I love it….always have!
Later on, in the afternoon, we headed to Bugembe at the home of Ring Of Hope Uganda, where we met with the team that’s been working with us, for a while now
Feedback from the Atlanta in the USA says that they made far better jewelry than their colleagues in Kampala
The ladies were sooo happy to meet us
Personally, I had never met them
But I was so glad I did, having left
They gave me hope, you know, to continue with what I do
As Jackson shared with us, most of these women came to Ring Of Hope Uganda broken and hopeless but with each passing day, they’ve gotten back their smile and chisel pointed towards living their life more adversely….which is a dope thing, right?
We interacted with them, on a more intimate level and not just the usually-expected buyer-seller one
Their challenges, points of strength and ways forward
Guess what, we actually cleared out some of their stock
Paid for some of it and placed more orders that we shall pick later
I just loved this particular one you’re looking at….
You must see these ladies in action making this jewelry
I don’t even know how they do it
It’s just too good to be true
The speed, agility, focus, rhythm and affection injected towards every single bead, wire and thread
“Handmade with lots of love from Jinja”