Across the thousand hills of Rwanda, groups of women are sitting together, weaving sisal baskets in the traditional way. The sisal fiber is extracted from the long leaf of a plant that resembles aloe. When the green fleshy part of the leaf is stripped away, white string-like fibers remain. These fibers are cleaned and dried, cooked in dye, and then woven into traditional forms- such as the peaked peace basket, or less traditional forms- like earrings or napkin rings.
The peace basket is still used in Rwanda for special gift giving. Many local homes have these baskets proudly displayed, or put to practical use holding dry goods like beans or rice.
The Traditional Journey Design
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 then continuing on to the home of their friend.
The Handcrafted Details
- An artisan weaves for 4-5 days to complete one basket.
- Hand-woven from natural sisal fibers.
- Approximately 9 inches tall.
- Care: Dust with a dry cloth.
The founders of Abihuje began with the hope that if they joined their strength and knowledge together, they could work towards a solution to their poverty. As they began to work together, the group not only grew in skill, but in friendship and mutual support. The women of Abihuje specialize in weaving Rwandan Sisal Peace Baskets.With fair wages from their weaving and the strength of their friendships and faith, the women of Abihuje are raising their families out of poverty.
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