Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chiquilla Makes Our Dresses

The gorgeous purple dress is for Phyllis. Her pretty white
hairs will be adorable with the white flowers in the dress.
The beautiful African-style’ish dress I wore when speaking at church and at school was made by lovely Chaquilla of Zwadde Tailoring. In preparation for my next visit, I hiked up the muddy Kampala street whose name I don’t know to the small avenue across from M-50. That’s my landmark to know when to turn. Another dress is in order and this time I need two. Phyllis loved the dress so much she ordered one too. I’m not sure if Chaquilla remembered me or not but she was certainly sweet enough when I returned to place the order.

Later that week I had a simple sewing project where I needed the help of a sewing machine – yes, I buy machines for everyone else but then hire someone to sew samples to use in teaching. I thought of Chaquilla and sure enough, she was THE best. I told her I work with a group of women, mostly widows, who were learning to sew and that I needed her help. After spending some great time hunting down someone who could work on my project immediately, she confided that she was also a widow. Of course, I blurted out “me too.”

We began exchanging stories and I learned that Chaquilla was not a widow when I saw her six months ago. Her husband wasn’t feeling well – fever, chills – and was assigned bed rest by doctors. He died that night and she still doesn’t know what from (such are the medical advances here). Chaquilla was three months pregnant at the time.

After she went to great lengths to find someone to work on my samples, she returned with a bag full of cooked rice and said “eat.” Together we shared her meal (and her fork) along with stories, pictures, and lots of love. Her extra effort on my sample project, the fact that she is an amazing tailor, and her gentle spirit will make me a customer for life!