by: Azizi Life
This beautiful and delicate basket is the quintessential Rwandan gift. In Rwanda, these baskets are often used to hold other gifts- like the one given by every bride to her new husband’s mother. These baskets are then proudly displayed in the home or used to contain dry goods such as beans or rice. Our artisan partner Pascasie told us that the basket’s traditional pattern, called umuraza, represents a path travelled together. Imagine two friends walking together to visit another dear friend. On their heads, they carry traditional baskets, filled with gifts from their harvest. They journey together down the path, through the hills of Rwanda, pausing to chat, and continuing on to the home of their friend. Each Traditional Grass Basket takes an entire week to weave, and is made from all-natural and locally-grown materials.
On the wall of Pascasie Mukamuligo’s home in Rusatira, Huye District, hang photos of two men. These, Pascasie explains, are her brothers. They, along with more than thirteen other family members, died in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. They were hunted and killed, most likely by their neighbors. But Pascasie is determined to be a different kind of neighbour. Tall and dignified, she chooses to stand for peace. To pray for peace. To work for peace. Pascasie is the president of the Peace Basket weaving cooperative. Under her leadership, community members from opposite sides of the genocidal conflict have joined to support one another in their art and their lives. The group meets together once per week to weave baskets and discuss issues like family, health, and reconciliation. And Pascasie has not stopped at that. Several years ago, she accepted an invitation by the government to go into the local prison to teach offenders – some of them thieves, vandals, and murderers of 1994 – to weave for peace and to support their families. Some of those men joined the Peace Basket Cooperative after their release. In 2016, the Reconciliation Year, Pascasie was selected by the Rwandan government as a hero in unity and promoter of reconciliation. And what is Pascasie’s vision for her group and community? We must continue to work for wholeness. We must continue to pray for peace.
"We must continue to work for wholeness. We must continue to pray for peace." -Pascasie Mukamuligo, President of the Agaseke k'Amahoro.
Each basket takes a week to make.
They are traditionally given as weddings gifts to the mother-in-law of a new bride.
Masterfully created, the lid snaps on by aligning it to the base from back to front.
Allows dignity to return in the lives of those who were previously unable to provide for their families.
Supports jobs for a cooperative of artisans in rural Rwanda.
Part of the Jesus' Economy shopping model, benefiting developing world communities.
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