Our friends the Bazonoonas were recently in the states visiting from East Africa. They live in a village outside of Jinja, Uganda which is right on Lake Victoria…the source of the Nile River.
Ida makes beautiful necklaces and I thought it would be neat to photograph her in her gomas (traditional Ugandan dress) as well as some of the steps she goes through to make the necklaces. My husband and I spent six weeks in Uganda the summer before we got married and loved getting to see and visit with the Bazonoonas. They are an amazing couple and an absolute joy to be around. Ida is HILARIOUS and has the gift of humor in both the African and American cultures.
Here is her story…
Ida and Richard live in the Busoga region of Uganda. Ida and her friends learned of an organization called “Beads For Life” that teaches the skill of crafting beads from recycled magazines. The four village friends pooled their money together to pay the $100 fee for one person to be able to go to the capital city of Kampala to learn the bead craft….they choose Ida to go. Ida returned to her village and taught the craft to those women. The beads now provide income for two widows, two single Moms and their children. The beads are made by candlelight in their village huts late into the night. Ida and her husband Richard and three children often work on the beads together. Magazine pages are cut into triangle strips and rolled tightly to form the bead shape. The multi-colored beads are then strung on fishing line and varnished with 3 coats. The bead are not painted with paint. The color of each bead is determined by the color of the page of the magazine. Each completed necklace takes around SIX hours to make! So much patience and time goes into the process but the end result is a magnificent and beautiful work of art. A friend of mine who bought one of the necklaces calls her necklace “Ida’s Patience.”
There was a small article about the Beads for Life the this months issuse of In Style magazine. It’s on page 415. 🙂 You can also learn more about the necklaces by going to the Bead For Life website HERE. When they left to go back to Uganda, they left some of the necklaces with a friend of mine. If anyone is interested in buying one, contact me and I’ll get you more information.