In the mid 1990's I was able to connect, with a Methodist organization, that was going to Africa to help build some houses. We stayed just outside of Harare, at the University of Zimbabwe.
The housing we were to be working on was for the faculty of the University.
I've decided, over time I will be doing some story quilts about that journey. I was there for two weeks.
Yesterday I worked on the border to this piece I had started this summer. The center is hand painted, stenciled and although you can't see it there is journal writing woven into the design. The border is made up of individual units that I made and then at random put together. Those units were all free cut. That means no ruler for those of you that don't know. Of course, over the years I've gotten pretty good at eyeballing a measurement and with a rotary cutter you can get a pretty good straight line.
Zimbabwe is beautiful. We were located in a valley surrounded by beautiful green hills. My walk from the University over to the hospital took me on a small path through thick vegetation. I walked with the locals who spoke Shona and excellent English.
I volunteered at the local hospital, when the digging for the foundations of the houses was at a standstill, helping with the AIDS babies. That in itself is another story.
This particular quilt reminds me of how positive the people were that I met. They were open and upbeat and willing to share what they had, with a stranger.
By late afternoon I had finished quilting the piece, cut my binding and I am ready to finish this piece.
Quilting, in the ditch, is a tedious process. If I don't keep my eye on the tiny little red arrow of my sewing machine foot I wander out of the ditch. So, while my eye is focused on the arrow, my mind was wandering off to recall, in perfect clarity, my visit to Harare.
"Work is love made visible".
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet