December 24th, 2009
11:44 AM ET

Gift #4: Weaving man

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/24/rwanda.macys.3final.jpg]

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

I picked out a basket at Macy's and read the name of the artist to Rwanda's master weaver, Janet Nkubana.

The weaver's name was sewn to the inside of the basket.

Who is the woman who wove this, I asked?

Janet looked at the name and laughed.

The weaver of this basket was not a woman. It's a man.

"We had men who had no jobs,” she tells me. “A few men said can we join the women?" This weaver, this man, said: "I don't mind. I'm a very poor person. I want to be a part of your group."

I liked the man’s basket. The weaver was not a master weaver. BUT …

“We do have one man who's a master weaver," said Janet. One out of 300.

Janet's company has a contest. She and her partners come up with a design. They circulate the design to Rwanda's large community of weavers. Whoever weaves it best wins 2-hundred dollars. That's a lot of money in Rwanda. "

“One young man who entered the contest has been with our community a long time. He was an orphan. He lost his parents in the genocide. One of our weavers picked him up from the streets.”

This man made the most stunning basket in his group."

He won the $200 dollar prize. What did he do with the money?

"He bought a bicycle. And opened a bank account."

He wove a future.

Can men be as good as women at weaving baskets, I asked Janet.

"Men have the capacity to be as good in this field when they put in a lot of effort.

But," she added with a hint of a smile, "they don't have that patience sometimes. They want easy designs.”

Go here for Gift #5: Weaving unity

Filed under: Africa • Beyond 360 • Michael Schulder • Refugees • Women's Issues
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Misty Lujan

    its funny women want all the jobs normally held by men why can a man not do a "womans" job in America we expect men to cook and clean like a "woman". its great that these men don't mind working no matter what the job. my hats off to them

    December 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm |