Our time in Uganda was scheduled down to the minute, but our team was eager to carve out even a brief time to do some local shopping and buy gifts for our families back home.
On our last full day there, we were taken to a huge local craft market. They dropped us off and said, "Okay, you have 45 minutes."
Forty-five minutes. (Clearly, this was planned by men. While we’re at it, why don’t we do the Louvre in half an hour?)
So, after a brief lesson from our Ugandan host about how to haggle (and knowing full well I was going to stink at it), we frantically jumped in the fray at a break-neck pace. Here’s a little corner of market (you can click on any of these pictures to see them enlarged):
Oh my word. If you think it’s satisfying to shop for handmade, mom-made items in the U.S., just try it in Uganda. I could’ve stayed there all day.
Below are a few of the things I came away with (several of the things I bought have already found their new homes with family members).
Here is an elephant for my son Adam, carved from teak wood:
Here’s a doll for my daughter Corrie. You can’t see it in this photo, but there’s a tiny baby strapped to the back of this momma, just the way the African mommas carry their little ones:
Here’s a little djembe (prounounced JEM-bay) drum for my Joseph:
And an undungu (pronounced un-DOON-goo) for Stephen:
The fact that I bought my two noisiest sons NOISE-MAKING ITEMS should tell you how out-of-my-mind lonesome I was for them.
Next is a cross carved out of teak wood (Sophie bought an identical one). I adore this. The second photo provides a little more detail: there is a dove in the center, with hands making up the rest of the cross. In my own mind, I’ve worked this out to symbolize the Holy Spirit (dove) enabling us (the hands) to share the love of Christ (the cross itself). Not bad for someone on malaria drugs, eh?
This next one is my absolute favorite. It’s a nativty scene, woven entirely out of banana husk. It especially struck me, because the day we were out in the village, we saw lots of mothers sitting under the tree weaving items out of these husks. This is one of the common ways mothers make toys for their children. I love this so much I plan to leave it out year round, not just at Christmas:
Our shopping trip took place immediately after I met our sponsor child, Dissan. I saw this next little figurine, carved from soap stone, and I thought of him. I bought it, brought it home, and I’ve put it on my kitchen windowsill.
I think of that sweet boy every time I every see it.