We are finalising the seventh edition of our free guide to Rwanda and Uganda, the booklet presenting the Gorilla Highlands as a region with much more than just gorilla tracking. “Why didn’t I find the Pocket Guide before coming here?!” often lament travellers who have booked insufficient days for this part of Africa — and our goal is to change that.
As we widen the distribution, a lot depends on the hardworking hands of Mirika Katurebe. A mother of six living in Burimba on the other side of Lake Bunyonyi, she makes the booklet holders. Her husband, a retired carpeneter, assists her by collecting papyrus reeds from swamp and banana fibres from plantations, the materials she needs for the job.
“Our two sons and one daughter have finished secondary school with the money I earn through crafts,” says Mirika who didn’t make it past Primary 2 herself. She does, however, know how to write her name, she adds.
In a month she can produce up to 15 booklet holders. It is not a full-time occupation for her; she also has to cook for the family and graze her goat. Mirika grows sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and sorghum, while craft money helps her buy special treats for the kids, such as meat, rice and maize flour. If she is lucky with crafts sales, she can make up to 400,000 shillings ($110) per month.
She is proud that her Gorilla Highlands baskets are found at so many places in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo already. And the next step is, of course, the world!
Please get in touch if you know of an interesting distribution point anywhere on Planet Earth!
text, photo and video: Miha Logar; photo: Shenaz Ntwari; video soundtrack: Tudur Evans