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3 Days Gorilla Safari
The drive to the enchanting and thickly dense forest of Bwindi will take us a pleasant 10 hours. This is where the largest population of the endangered mountain Gorillas in the world is resident. Don't worry, the journey to Bwindi is all part of the fun

11 Days Gorilla and Tanzania Safari
Our journey to the Mountain Gorilla land starts at 6:30 am soon after your breakfast. It takes us southwestwards passing through the equator in Masaka, to Mbarara town known as the ‘land of milk’.

1 Day Kampala City Tour
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and Uganda is known to many as the ‘Pearl of Africa’. Formerly known as the city of seven hills, Kampala now encompasses over 20 glorious beautiful hills. Kampala is a city of lovely people with genuine smiles as

8 Days Wanderlust Safari
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mt. Mgahinga National Park and Queen Elizabeth National park.


Kabale elderly find gold mine in handicrafts

    Kabale elderly find gold mine in handicrafts

    Kabale elderly find gold mine in handicrafts


    She hums as she hooks dry papyrus strips neatly in a circular shape. Her worn hands reflect a day’s work to earn a living. Unlike some senior citizens who sit home waiting on their caretakers or family and friends to help them, Tofasi Bagurusi, 88, spends her day weaving baskets which support her family; a disabled daughter and grandson with hearing impairment.
    Bagurusi starts her day’s work at around 8am. “You are welcome; we praise the Lord who has kept me alive for all these years,” she says, as she offers guests a seat. While adjusting her woolen sweater, she cannot contain herself as she converses about the day’s events. On the particular day we visit, she is in high spiirits and talks about anything.

    Humble beginnings
    “My mother taught me how to weave baskets when I was 10 years old but that was not my full-time trade,” she recounts. Bagurusi reflects the olden days when she used to make a bounty from farming as she used to dig acres of Irish potato, sorghum and other food stuffs. Five years ago however, her body could not deal as her back ached at every attempt to dig. She opted to revive her childhood skill –weaving baskets – to earn a living.
    “Every week, I finish one basket which I sell at either Shs5,000 or Shs8,000 depending on the size. I spend this money on a litre of milk. I take one litre of milk with a piece of roasted sweet potato as my meal every day. I do not eat any other food because of my stomach complications. Despite my advanced age, I dread being idle and begging,” says the resident of Kijuguta, Northern division in Kabale Municipality. Some people visit and ask her for a free basket and she quickly replies, “Go and bring for me weaving materials in return for one.” 
    Bagurusi, a mother of 10 of whom only six are still alive and her first born is a retired officer of Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB ) Peace Bagurusi. Betty Keirungi, 54, is her disabled daughter with whom she lives. Keirungi helps her mother to gather the weaving materials which are sometimes scarce because most of the wetlands have been reclaimed into farms.
    “There is ready market for my products but the challenge these days is the scarcity of weaving materials,” Bagurusi explains.

    United against poverty
    There are other senior citizens who came together and partnered with Bagurusi to deal poverty a blow and age gracefully, they belong to Kabale Senior Citizens Organisation.
    Evelyn Kasaza, 74 founded Kabale Senior Citizens Organisation in 2004 as a village group that cared for the elderly in Rutooma- Kabale town and because of the growing need to help them, in 2011 she registered it as a community based organisation. It has about 30 members.
    “We set out to identify the needy elderly and advocate for their rights,” says Kasaza. Adding: “ We organise an annual event where we gather all the elderly in a hotel, share a meal with them, crack jokes, share life experiences and give them gifts as a sign of love and appreciation besides being highly recognised in society.”

    Lending a hand
    Kasaza says on such events they hire gerontologists to give expert counselling as most of the aging citizens are faced with challenges such as violence from relatives that always aim at grabbing their properties and marginalisation.
    “We carry out home visits to the elderly as we encourage them to engage in skill development and activities such as handicraft making, besides warning them against the risks that come with consumption of alcohol at their age,” Kasaza explains.

    Their appeal 
    There is need, she says, for a resource centre where the elderly can go for guidance and counselling, skill trainings, socialisation, workout and also document literature about culture through trained rapporteurs for the future generations.
    Kabale Senior Citizens Organisation is lobbying government for a microfinance where the elderly can save and borrow money for skills development, funding projects that are not labour- intensive such as poultry and piggery and using it for health insurance. With such an organisation, they hope to age gracefully and leave no room for self-pity.

    What others say
    “I earn bread for my children through weaving and selling mats. I can make one mat in one week and I sell it at Shs10,000 to Shs20,000 depending on the size. There is ready market for mats because I make them on order as the interested persons always come to my home to pick them. The leaders of Kabale Senior Citizens Organisation have helped a lot in counselling every time we get challenges,” Jolly Kemirembe, 64.

    “Despite my little education and disability, I acquired skills in knitting sweaters for school children and church group members such as Mother’s Union from which I earn some money. I can make 10 sweaters per week and I sell each at Shs12,000. I use part of my earnings to pay school fees for my nephew in Senior Two.” Betty Keirungi , 54

    Daily Monitor - Uganda





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